New interim Principal of Newcastle College Scott Bullock has welcomed measures announced by the Chancellor last week, saying it is right to focus on education and skills training for young people.

With further education colleges now at the forefront of the recovery response, Newcastle College is ready to help North East businesses take advantage of the incentives to take on apprentices and trainees.

“I can confidently say that Newcastle College is ready and able to step up and help the North East bounce back,” he states.

“Apprenticeships and traineeships are so important for young people and for employment in the region. Not only do they offer education and training with a real wage, but they can really boost the workforce of almost any business.

“It’s important that we think about the longer term for young people and ensure that they aren’t disadvantaged for a long time to come because of this pandemic.”

Looking at the bigger picture for the North East, the new Principal thinks that increasing these opportunities will not only boost employment but help future growth for the region.

“On-the-job training programmes like these create a pipeline of talent and they’re real opportunities to bridge skills gaps, whether a business needs that boost at entry level, or whether they would benefit more from a degree apprentice. Not only does this enable rapid recovery but also boosts the workforce ready for future growth,” he continues.

“This is particularly important for sectors including manufacturing and engineering, construction and digital. Before the pandemic hit, the North East was really focused on digital growth and we shouldn’t lose that focus. Digital apprenticeships are actually one of our biggest offers, particularly higher level and degree apprenticeships.

“As a college, our focus is always on ensuring that we can provide young people with the right skills and experience to be able to secure employment in the region, keeping those skills gaps and those employer needs at the forefront of what we offer. That is why we work so closely with industry to create our courses and our apprenticeships.

“Of course, that is a bigger challenge if those jobs aren’t available, so the measures announced by the Chancellor are really important.”

Mr Bullock is now urging employers to take advantage of the incentives on offer and says that Newcastle College is ready and waiting to support them.

“There are young people ready and waiting to be placed with an employer and Newcastle College has a dedicated team to support the whole process,” he says. “I think it’s often underestimated how much hard work apprentices and trainees do. They are there to work, they have new skills and knowledge, they really can boost businesses.

“With the added incentives from the government now is the time. Together we can help our region to recover, we just need employers to get on board.”