As National Apprenticeship Week launches today, the head of the biggest college in the county says Cumbria is a hotbed of opportunity if you want to become an apprentice.
Furness College Principal and Chief Executive Andrew Wren says the range and scale of apprenticeships available to people is vast with higher achievement rates for 16-18 year olds than anywhere else in the country.
He said with the college in Barrow leading the way, training more than 700 apprentices each year, and twice the national average progressing into apprenticeships, the support and infrastructure is ready and waiting.
“An apprenticeship is a great way to earn and learn, and offers a perfect route for school leavers who know what career they want to pursue. It’s a very valuable way to build skills and become a highly effective member of the workforce.
Mr Wren said there has also been a huge increase in higher and degree level apprenticeships in this area.
“Across Cumbria, we’ve had a 200 per cent increase in 18 year olds going into higher and degree level apprenticeships,” he said. “Employers want people who have the higher level skills they need to progress their businesses and they know apprentices can gain world-class skills at the Channelside campus.”
Furness College offers apprenticeships in 20 sectors from accounting to applied science, business to beauty and barbering, construction to customer services and management to motor vehicle. There are also apprenticeships in early years education, engineering, hairdressing, health and social care, information technology, retail and team leading.
After completing their apprenticeship, some 90 per cent will stay in employment (including 2 per cent self-employed), with seven in ten (71 per cent) staying with the same employer so apprenticeships are a proven way into the world of work.
Mr Wren said the apprentices trained at Furness College join 10,000 people county-wide who are currently on an apprenticeship with the largest sectors including engineering and manufacturing technologies, business administration and law, and health and social care.
“We work with big companies such as BAE Systems, Siemens and Orsted but we also have apprentices who work in the supply chain industry who have recognised taking on an apprentice can make a real and positive contribution. We also work with many smaller employers who benefit greatly from skills and knowledge their apprentices acquire whilst at college”
The college opened an Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Centre in 2016 to meet the growing demand for highly skilled workers. It has room for up to 450 higher education students and 1,150 apprentices on science, technology and engineering courses.
Furness College has also been awarded the top rating in Cumbria – Silver – by the Teaching Excellence Framework for its quality of higher education teaching, which includes higher and degree-level apprenticeships.
Mr Wren said that in addition to established employers, many start-ups are taking on an apprentice for the first time.
“We have a dedicated team of business development co-ordinators to support them and the apprentice every step of the way,” he said. “Plus there are a range of grants available to support small and medium-sized businesses.”
For more information about apprenticeships, either as a future apprentice or an employer, contact the business support team on firstname.lastname@example.org
Furness College is supporting National Apprenticeship Week 2020 with a range of events. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. #NAW2020 #LookBeyond