National Apprenticeship Week 2021 gives the University of Sunderland a chance to celebrate this year’s theme – Build the Future, through the inspirational work of its apprentices, partners and staff.

The University is currently working with more than 60 employers across the region, from the NHS to Nissan, delivering successful higher and degree apprenticeship programmes.

In turn, our apprentices have been making major contributions to the success of businesses and workplaces, especially in the past year of the pandemic helping their employers adapt and grow during a difficult year.

Apprentices are employees who spend most of their time in the workplace, supported by dedicated study time with the University. Learning while working, then applying that learning back into the workplace.

The programmes can be tailored to meet the needs of employers and larger organisations can even use their apprenticeship levy and government top-up to pay for the tuition and professional fees. For smaller employers, the government pays 90%, with the remainder co-invested by the business.

This week the University shines a light on those hardworking individuals involved in making a successful apprenticeship, building the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career.

Ian Moore is one of those individuals who has just completed the BA (Hons) Management and Leadership Practice Degree & CMI Apprenticeship.

Moving from the frontline of the Fire Service to a managerial role that ensures safety procedures are being followed, was a natural progression for Ian. But it was those key qualifications to progress further he needed to build on his success.

Ian, 48, a Station Manager for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, explained: “Two years ago I took on a new managerial role within the organisation and the Fire Service offered me the development opportunity at Sunderland alongside the promotion. I jumped at the chance to expand my understanding of being a manager and a leader. It’s important for me to have this recognised qualification alongside the experience that I have built up.

“I finished the programme last month. It was a challenge juggling the two roles, especially with the responsibilities of internal audits, ensuring that the Fire Service is fulfilling its duties, debriefing on operational incidents and monitoring crews when they’re responding to an incident.

“But I found the course really rewarding in terms of expanding my horizons.”

Having been a firefighter for 28 years, and progressing through the ranks, Ian, from Durham, says he would recommend a Degree Apprenticeship programme to anyone wanting to expand their knowledge and experience.

“Hopefully this will open to doors to future roles within the service,” he says: “I would recommend Sunderland to others, the staff are really knowledgeable, they have worked in industry and are able to deliver sessions based on their experience.”

“Hopefully this will open to doors to future roles within the service,” he says: “I would recommend Sunderland to others, the staff are really knowledgeable, they have worked in industry and are able to deliver sessions based on their experience.”

He added: “The way the university structures the training helps you get back into learning and academic writing.”

Apprenticeships combine academic studies with work and provide opportunities to apply learning directly in the workplace, developing transferable skills. They also allow individual growth and are a valuable asset to the growth of any organisation.

The University of Sunderland launched its Degree Apprenticeship programme almost four years ago and has established a proven record among a range of clientele, seeing 672 apprentices beginning their programme, in a range of subject areas.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University, said: “Providing high-quality apprenticeships is a vital part of our role as an anchor institution in the north-east of England. We are delighted to be working in partnership with so many different employers to provide them with the skilled people they need to thrive in the future.

“For the individuals involved, an apprenticeship is a terrific way to enhance their career prospects and job opportunities. If you are interested, do you contact us to find out more about these excellent qualifications.”

This is the 14th annual National Apprenticeship Week, a week-long celebration that takes place across England, showcasing the impact apprenticeships can have on communities, local businesses and regional economies and how they all benefit from the impact of apprenticeships.

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to learn while you earn, opening up new and exciting career paths that can transform lives. It’s been a tough year for everyone, but we want the theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2021 to be a springboard to look ahead to how apprenticeships can futureproof workforces and boost careers.”

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