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Business & Economy

EN:Able Futures CIC reflects on a successful start in the North East

Julie Deeley, director of operations, reflects on a successful year for EN:Able Futures CIC as it launched its Flexi-Job Apprenticeship service into the North East.

EN:Able Futures CIC specialises in the construction and built environment sector.

Our headquarters is Sheffield, and our Flexi-Job Apprenticeship Service has had huge success across Yorkshire and the Humber. This year, we launched in the North East.

One of 16 new Flexi-Job Apprenticeship agencies registered with the government, we are the only one operating in the construction sector and are actively recruiting apprentices for employers operating from the Tees Valley to the Scottish Border.

Certain industries don’t have the continuity of work to meet the requirements of an apprenticeship. If we look at construction as the example, a project to erect a new building may include a package of brickwork lasting four months. After that, the trades move on and the next phase of the build begins. This isn’t a sufficient length of time for a bricklaying apprentice to get the experience they need.

Flexi-Job Apprenticeships piece together a series of placements that enable the apprentice to get the experience needed, as well as providing mentoring and pastoral support to both apprentice and their employer.

We employ apprentices directly, dealing with payroll, qualifications, training and mentoring, so all the paperwork that comes with hiring an apprentice is removed, allowing the employer to focus on growth.

Here, in the North East, we have an agile team of apprenticeship managers that provide regular support, advice and guidance to every apprentice and company hosting them, ensuring that 98% of our apprentices who complete their qualification, go on to full time employment or further education.

Apprenticeships have experienced a resurgence in recent years. However, it leaves two big challenges. Convincing those searching for a career and their parents or guardians, that apprenticeships are, for many, a better alternative to university/gaining qualifications and convincing companies to offer more new apprenticeships to develop talent withing their sector.

In July, we took an office at the Evolve Centre, Houghton-le-Spring, which is also home to our good friends, Constructing Excellence in the North East. Our new office, further signalled our intent to develop our apprenticeship offering and is a perfect location to service Tees Valley and the wider North East.

If we look within our own team, assistant apprenticeship manager, Sophie Richardson, progressed through the apprenticeship route and is now sharing her experience by supporting other people on the learning journey.

Set against a tough economic backdrop and a skills gap, Flexi-Job Apprenticeships help employers to overcome structural barriers to making greater use of apprenticeships. They support businesses in all sectors to make a sustainable investment in the skills they need to grow and build a diverse talent pipeline for the future.

We achieved our first milestone, when, in September, Jack Gilbert joined Northumberland-based, Inside Contracting, as a Level 2 Floor Laying apprentice. He will also spend one day a week at Derwentside College.

This news followed the successful placement of one apprentice bricklayer and one apprentice joiner at MountFair Homes in Newcastle, an all-inclusive project management service for household needs.

As we head towards the end of the year, we are busy recruiting for a further five apprentices in varying positions, as we continue to provide mutually beneficial apprenticeship opportunities for young people and organisations across the region.

Moving forward, we want to continue to build on our success, with a strong focus on expanding our services across the Tees Valley.