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Business & Economy

Newcastle College backs the power of apprenticeships for business

Newcastle College is hoping to inspire more North East employers to get on board with apprenticeships this March, in a number of events to be held during National Apprenticeship Week.

The Week, which runs Monday 4 until Friday 8 March, will see the College bring together apprentices and employers to celebrate the positive impact of apprenticeship programmes, whilst opening up a wider conversation about how employers can maximise their value and impact, seeing apprenticeships as a priority for the region’s workforce.

Marc McPake, Director of Business Partnerships at Newcastle College, says: “As a College, we align ourselves to North East LEP priorities and its target to create better jobs, either through the creation of new roles or by upskilling the current workforce. Our role is to provide work-ready individuals with the right skills to step into those roles.

“Our relationships with local employers are key to us fulfilling this role, as they help us to create apprenticeships which address the right skills gaps and adapt our offering to meet industry demand.

“Apprenticeships aren’t a one size fits all solution but that’s exactly why they’re so vital. With higher level and degree apprenticeships also available through Newcastle College University Centre, they can be adapted to meet the needs of almost any business and offer both an entry level route into skilled employment and an opportunity to upskill and develop experienced employees.”

As well as a number of events planned for young people and existing students, Newcastle College’s Apprenticeships Team is hoping to provide solutions to some of the bigger apprenticeships challenges faced by the region’s employers.

“One of the most common issues I come across in my role is the uncertainty that many employers have following apprenticeship reforms,” Marc explains.

“The changes were designed to simplify the process and encourage more uptake but I appreciate the challenges that many businesses face when it comes to issues such as recruitment, off-the-job-training and Levy funding.

“On top of this, there are still a huge number of misconceptions about apprenticeships and that’s what this week is all about – proving that all of those problems have solutions and that apprenticeships could be effective for almost any business.”

At the end of the week, the College will host the annual Newcastle College Apprenticeship Awards at St James’ Park, sponsored by Northumbrian Water.

The awards are aimed at recognising and celebrating the successes of individuals and organisations already partnered with the College to deliver successful and effective apprenticeship programmes.

Sarah Salter, Group HR Director at Northumbrian Water said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring Newcastle College’s Apprenticeship Awards this year.

“We know first-hand how valuable apprenticeships are for our people at Northumbrian Water, developing our teams as well as our business. Apprenticeships create opportunities to learn, grow and achieve for all involved and it’s fantastic to be supporting the recognition of the achievements of all the apprentices at this event.”

Marc adds: “The Apprenticeship Awards are a highlight in my diary, because it’s always fantastic to see everybody’s hard work and successes come together and be recognised.

“We’ve seen so many successful apprenticeship programmes embedded into organisations across the region and I hope that by demonstrating and celebrating these successes during National Apprenticeship Week, we can encourage even more employers to embrace them.”