Events show apprenticeship interest is at an all-time high
TWO events held in North Devon for National Apprenticeship Week demonstrated why the area has been generating apprenticeships faster than the rest of Devon, the South West and England.
The Employment and Skills Board Employers' Showcase at the Barnstaple Hotel on the morning of March 14 followed by Petroc's Apprentice Expo in the afternoon attracted a continuous flow of visitors throughout the day.
Many exhibitors attended both events and included North Devon+, Petroc, National Apprenticeship Service, Careers South West, Jobcentre Plus and CSkills. Training providers attending included Accountancy Learning, Babcock, Bicton College, ETS, Duchy College, Group Training and Development and HIT.
Employers present included Actavis, Anglo, Brend Hotels and ETC.
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Sue Wearne, of Careers South West, said: "Last year employers were coming along for general information. This year they are coming along having got an apprentice in mind but not knowing how to put it together or with a view to taking an apprentice on."
Richard Daulton, of the National Apprenticeship Service, added that having agencies, training providers and employers under one roof meant that contacts could be made immediately to get apprenticeships off the ground.
He said: "Being able to help employers through two or three contacts in one hit was good."
A number of businesses, including a fire and safety business and a cheese-making business, discovered training provision at the event that can help them take on an apprentice and expand their operations.
We aim to follow up case studies when these apprenticeships go live.
Laura Osborne, of ETS, described the morning as a "worthwhile employer event" and said they would be following up inquiries they had received from employers during the morning.
After a steady flow of inquiries in the morning, it was the turn of students and jobseekers in the afternoon, when Petroc hosted its Apprentice Expo.
At one stage the Barnstaple Hotel was a sea of students as coaches arrived from local schools, eager to discover the options available to them.
Tallulah Warmington and Holly Sherborne, both studying A levels at Petroc, visited the event in search of more information to help them choose their options.
"I got loads of information as I wasn't sure what was available," said Tallulah.
"I spoke to Brend Hotels and Babcock and Richard from the Apprenticeship Service was really good.
"I'd like to do a business and law apprenticeship. I will read everything up and start looking now. I like the idea of learning and earning."
Holly expressed an interest in nursing and healthcare apprenticeships.
Other students at the event demonstrated interest in a wide range of sectors from archaeology to the merchant navy.
"We've seen a positive approach from students," said Katherine Sealy from Bicton College. "It also shows that apprenticeships are becoming a viable alternative to staying in education."
Sara Vincent, VP UK and Ireland at Actavis, said: "Since 2011 we have grown our Actavis Apprenticeship Programme, we have ten apprentices across the business, with a further 11 places planned for this year.
"Actavis views apprenticeships as a great way of growing our own talent and we are pleased where apprentices have completed their apprenticeship we have so far been able to secure permanent roles in the business, which is one of our aims.
"We have been delighted by the maturity, energy and ability of the candidates who are all making a significant contribution to our organisation. Events such as the Apprenticeship Expo offer those thinking about apprenticeships the chance to discover the career opportunities available."
Employers who missed the events can find information on apprenticeships at www.ndap prenticeships.co.uk, while students should visit www.petroc. ac.uk and www.careerssw.org
Employers can register apprenticeship vacancies and jobseekers can search for and apply for apprenticeships at www.apprenticeships.org.uk