Newcastle College Leads Employer Engagement

Newcastle College raises apprenticeship awareness

06 April 2012

Newcastle College has been working with City & Guilds to help raise awareness of the business benefits of vocational training.

In the summer of 2011, City & Guilds hosted a series of apprenticeship summits across the UK, helping to identify ways employers and colleges could work together to boost apprenticeship numbers.

One of these events inspired Chris Wiley, Head of Apprenticeships at Newcastle College, to host an event to engage local employers and share the benefits of vocational training.

What started as a breakfast seminar for employers and potential apprentices soon grew into an all-day event that included a job fair to give the public the chance to discover a new vocational career.

The event, held at St James’ Park football stadium, featured speakers from City & Guilds, Jobcentre Plus and other local employers, who explained how apprenticeships have helped businesses grow.

Apprenticeships in the spotlight

Wiley explains the thinking behind the seminar and job fair event: ‘As a college we wanted to engage with far more employers so we discussed running an event with City & Guilds.’

By hosting a job fair on the same day, Wiley saw an even greater number of employers attend the morning seminar and enter the discussion about apprenticeships.

A boost for employers and learners

The job fair attracted over 80 employers from the region, and members of the public were invited to browse the careers and training on offer. The fair also allowed potential learners to speak to advisors and discover a route to work that would suit them.

Wiley believes the event was crucial for learners in the Newcastle area. ‘We have significant unemployment in the local community, but without employers seeing the benefits of training and apprenticeships we’re not going to get more young people into work,’ she says.

Future opportunities

The future for Newcastle College and its learners is bright. With more events like this in the pipeline, Wiley hopes that unemployment can be reduced in the local area.

‘Our focus is on developing people within business, and breaking down the preconceived notions of apprenticeships that many employers have. We’ve got to demystify learning for employers and learners alike, and show them that it’s the way to personal and economic growth.’


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