REDCAR & Cleveland College has signed up to a new pilot scheme to help boost the uptake of apprenticeships.
The college, which was recently recognised in a national awards competition for its outstanding delivery of apprenticeships, is joining secondary schools, councils and employers to support the initiative, which is being spearheaded by Richmond MP Rishi Sunak and backed by business minister Nick Boles.
A dedicated online portal will be set up under the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) brand to make it easier for businesses to advertise apprenticeships and for young people to find and apply for them.
The scheme will be piloted initially in North Yorkshire and, if successful, could then be rolled out across the rest of the UK. It comes amid a Government drive to create three million extra apprenticeships by 2020 to help industry plug skills gaps in key sectors, such as manufacturing, engineering, digital and construction.
John Chance, acting principal of Redcar & Cleveland College, said: “We are thrilled to be playing a major role in the UCAS scheme. Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to get a foot on the career ladder and for employers to gain the skills they need.”
MP Rishi Sunak, who co-founded a multi-million pound investment firm as part of a successful business career, has written to around 800 employers in his constituency urging them to consider taking on an apprentice.
He said: “I’m working hard to increase the number of apprentices in the North East and North Yorkshire. Key to this initiative is the support of UCAS as well as several other organisations including Redcar & Cleveland College, local schools and employers.”
A key aim of the UCAS scheme is to provide career opportunities such as the one afforded to Callum Kay, who is benefiting from a Hospitality Level 2 apprenticeship at the Holiday Inn Darlington, Scotch Corner.
The 18-year-old, who has been working for the company since last June, was recently awarded Employee of the Month at the international chain hotel after being voted by his colleagues in recognition of his hard work and enthusiasm.
In achieving the award, Callum beat off competition from 50 staff at the company and was treated to an additional £100 in his monthly pay.
Callum, from Darlington, said: “I was really shocked to find I had been awarded Employee of the Month, as I haven’t been at the hotel for very long and staff had to individually write a reason for choosing their nominee.
“An assessor from Redcar & Cleveland College comes out to see me once a month and advises on my development, which is really useful. I’m learning more about my role day by day and I’m really pleased that my colleagues have recognised my desire to succeed.”
Mike Henley, head chef at the hotel, said: “Callum really stepped up during busy periods and always goes above and beyond his role. He’s been a tremendous asset to the team, hasn’t shied away from any task and approached the job with real enthusiasm and hard work. The Employee of the Month award has been well earned.”
MP Rishi Sunak added: “Callum is a prime example of how apprenticeships can benefit young people who are looking for new opportunities when they leave school. It’s fantastic that businesses such as the Holiday Inn are supporting the initiative.”
For further information, please contact please call 01642 473 132 or visit http://www.cleveland.ac.uk.