Colleges promote apprenticeships to thousands of local young people

The Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) have been celebrating and promoting the benefits of studying an apprenticeship to young people across the region over a two-week period.

The two colleges, Newcastle-under-Lyme College (NULC) and Stafford College, which form part of the NSCG, collectively took to the road on Monday 6 March, the start of National Apprenticeship Week, and have embarked on an ambitious two-week roadshow to promote their apprenticeship programmes from a yellow classic American school bus.

In its tenth year running, National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Staff members from NSCG visited a number of high schools, colleges and Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford town centre to promote and highlight the benefits of apprenticeships and encourage individuals to think about studying an apprenticeship as a viable post-16 education option.

Jane Tunnicliff, Head of Work Based Learning at NULC, said: “Staff members from both NULC and Stafford College have thoroughly enjoyed the past two weeks. We have spoken to over 3,500 school pupils and hundreds of members of the public, providing them with information on everything they need to know about apprenticeships, from the different study levels and salaries available, to discussing the work placement and college life balance.”

As well as taking to the road to showcase their apprenticeship programmes, both colleges have organised other events targeted to young people focusing on apprenticeships. Taking place at NULC on Thursday 9 March, students from NULC and Stafford College participated in the ‘Next Steps’ event, an event designed to help students think about career options once they have completed their current college course, whether that’s progressing on to university or into an apprenticeship. At the event, students from both colleges got to speak to a range of local employers from a variety of industries all looking to recruit apprentices. Employers included Churchill China, Siemens, Wedgwood, The Army Reserves, Capula and more.

Carl Riding, Head of Work Based Learning at Stafford College, said: “The ‘Next Steps’ event held at NULC provides existing students with the perfect opportunity to find out everything they need to know about progressing onto an apprenticeship after completing their existing qualification with us. We welcomed over 25 local employers to NULC who are all looking to recruit apprentices in the near future. Collectively, NULC and Stafford College currently have over 100 live apprenticeship vacancies and following the event we hope to shortly have a number of these filled.”

Both NULC and Stafford College also opened their doors to prospective students this week. On Tuesday 14 March, Stafford College’s Open Event welcomed over 400 visitors to its Earl Street campus and NULC welcomed 450 visitors to its Knutton Lane campus on Wednesday 15 March. Both Open Events had a focus on apprenticeships, with interactive demonstrations in Construction, Engineering, Computing, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy to give visitors a real feel for what they would be doing in the workplace as an apprentice.

Targeting local employers, the colleges held lunchtime seminars on Thursday 2 March. Local businesses were provided with an overview on how NSCG can provide work-based learning and apprenticeships and the changing landscape of apprenticeships; including the latest government updates on the levy, funding reforms and the digital apprenticeship service.

As well as targeting potential apprentices and employers over the past two-weeks, the NSCG have also been celebrating successes and achievements of their existing apprentices. Four apprentices from NULC were recognised for their outstanding contributions to business at this year’s Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Apprenticeships Recognition Awards, which took place on Thursday 9 March.

From a possible 4,000 apprentices in the area, the four apprentices from NULC that won awards, along with eight others from the county, included Accounting Apprentice, Lauren Blundred, Business Administration Apprentice, Katherine Green and Children and Young People’s Workforce Apprentices, Oliver Durber and Shamima Miah. The awards, organised by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), was held as part NAW to give apprentices, employers and learning providers a unique chance to celebrate their successes.

Karen Dobson, Principal and Chief Executive at NSCG, said: “The past couple of weeks at Newcastle-under-Lyme College and Stafford College have been absolutely fantastic. We hired the bus for National Apprenticeships Week because we wanted to create a buzz around Apprenticeships amongst our target audience. We’re really happy with how this activity has been received by schools and their pupils, everybody has been talking about it as the bus does stand out on the roads locally. Staff from both colleges have worked really hard throughout this two-week campaign and promoted the benefits of studying an apprenticeship with the NSCG. Our apprenticeship success rates are 17% above the national average, so we are confident when we say we can deliver the highest quality of apprenticeship training available.”

In November 2016, Newcastle-under-Lyme College and Stafford College merged and officially became the Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG). This means that NSCG is now the largest education provider in Staffordshire and they can offer a much larger range of apprenticeships by working with a wider range of employers.

To find out more about studying an apprenticeship or hiring an apprentice with NSCG, call 01782 254287 (Newcastle Office) or 01785 275660 (Stafford Office), email apprenticeships@nscg.ac.uk or visit www.nscg.ac.uk

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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