Minister visits WCG to see apprenticeships in action

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Workshop group L-R Alex Clark, Jaguar Land Rover apprentice, Angela Joyce, Group Principal and CEO at WCG, Robert Halfon MP, Jo Lopes, Head of Technical Excellence at Jaguar Land Rover, Chris White MP

Minister of State for Apprenticeship and Skills, Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, visited Warwick Trident College last week to see how WCG is training the skilled employees the country needs.

WCG is the largest college provider of apprenticeships in the West Midlands, with around 2500 apprentices training with the Group each year. WCG has recently been shortlisted in the TES FE Award for Apprenticeship Programme of the Year and as Training Partner of the Year at the Semta Skills Awards.

Mr Halfon was greeted by WCG CEO and Group Principal, Angela Joyce, and toured the college’s state-of-the-art engineering and motor vehicle facilities. He next met with a group of Jaguar Land Rover apprentices who train at the college studying at advanced, higher and degree level in product design, electrical and electronic engineering, alongside Jaguar Land Rover staff.

Mr Halfon then met with other WCG apprentices, including apprentices working in farriery, accountancy, horticulture, clay modelling, vehicle maintenance, equine, engineering technical support and dentistry. Farriery apprentice Oliver Laker presented Mr Halfon with a commemorative horseshoe to mark the visit. He also met with a number of apprentice employers with apprentices at WCG, including Aston Martin, BT Fleet, Find me a Gift, AGCO, WAGO and Bransford Webbs.

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Darcie Kelly, Accounting apprentice with Find Me A Gift presents Mr Halfon with a personalised Chelsea FC mug

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Robert Halfon said:

“It has been fantastic meeting some brilliant apprentices today who have taken their first steps on the ladder of opportunity to securing highly skilled jobs.

“I have been extremely inspired by the work Warwick Trident College and Warwickshire College Group (WCG) have been doing to ensure people are getting the highest quality education and training. I hope other colleges and providers will be able to follow WCG’s lead.”

Angela Joyce, CEO and Group Principal of WCG said, “We were absolutely delighted to welcome the Minister to our Warwick Trident College today to showcase our work on apprenticeships. It was great that he was able to spend so much time talking to our talented apprentices and their employers from a wide range of industries across the UK.

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Oliver Laker, Farriery apprentice presenting Mr Halfon with a commemorative horseshoe

“We have been at the forefront of the apprenticeship reforms taking place over recent years and this visit was a great opportunity to share our work with the Minister. He was also very supportive of our apprenticeship graduation ceremonies, held every six months to ensure that all our apprentices can graduate when they complete their apprenticeship, which we see as an integral part of ensuring apprentices’ achievements are recognised in the same way as higher and further education students at WCG.”

Charlotte Somers, Jaguar Land Rover first year Degree Apprentice said, “The Minister took a genuine interest in us as apprentices. He listen to our views and seemed keen to act upon them. He asked lots of searching questions to gain a real understanding of why we joined the apprenticeship programme at Jaguar Land Rover and what could be done to spread our success nationally and across other companies.”

Ezra Cunningham, Jaguar Land Rover first year Degree Apprentice said, “We felt privileged to be able to share some quality time with a government Minister who took our comments on board and is able to make a difference. He was clearly well informed and passionate about apprenticeships.”

Joshua Berrill, 20, from Daventry is an engineering apprentice at WAGO in Rugby. He said, “It was great to meet the Minister today and he was interested to hear about my journey. We talked about how to make young people more aware of apprenticeships – they need direction and to know all the options available to them.”

For more information about apprenticeships at WCG, go to www.warwickshire.ac.uk/apprentices or call 0300 456 0046.

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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