Re-shaping and nurturing our future workforce – What role do Apprenticeships play?

As part of Colleges Week 2021 – a chance to celebrate and shout about all of the brilliant things that colleges do, day in and day out, to build communities, boost businesses and support individuals, we caught up with Karen Roberts to find out more about how Cheshire College are addressing skills and employment gaps and inspiring people of all ages. Here’s what she had to say…

At Cheshire College we find ourselves working collaboratively with over 500 employer partners to assist them with their recruitment processes, how they design and deliver apprenticeships and upskills their workforce.  

As we navigate into a post-pandemic world, addressing skills and employment gaps and inspiring people of all ages is my teams’ top priority and I truly believe Apprenticeships play a vital role in how re-shape and nurture our future workforce.  

Apprenticeships have always been a passion of mine. Apprentices can bring new perspectives to a business, help increase productivity, bring fresh ideas… I could go on and on! And this year, employers taking on a new apprentice could receive an incentive payment of up to £4,000 per apprentice with full control over how this is spent.  

Funktion Events, event management specialist based in Chester have grown their entire workforce through Apprenticeships over the last six years and even their Managing Director started out as an apprentice. With year-on-year sustainable growth and excellent staff recruitment, they now operate across the whole of the UK and in 37 overseas cities. Earlier this week I caught up with Holly Clapshaw, Marketing Manager, who started her career as an Apprentice. Here’s what she had to say about her experience… 

“Our entire business is filled with successful Apprentices! For the company, having an Apprentice means you’re hiring someone willing to learn and develop professionally and personally. This creates a thriving working environment and keeps the business fresh, which is really important in the events industry when everything is ever-changing. 

“For the individual, it’s a great opportunity to learn whilst also gaining a lot of responsibility at such a young age. By having everyone go through the Apprenticeship first, there’s plenty of help and reinforcement for new Apprentices through mentors. Also, it’s encouraging to see other staff members who’ve achieved their goals through the same Apprenticeship course and college as yourself.” 

Taking advantage of the Government’s incentive is a fantastic opportunity for businesses and employees to become more resilient and competitive after a challenging two years. Funktion Events are just one example of the impact an Apprentice, or several Apprentices, can have within a business and I’m delighted we’ve been able to support them in growing their business through our Apprenticeship provision.  

At Cheshire College we are extremely proud of our employer partnerships and value our relationships with employers. I would encourage all businesses to spend time researching Apprenticeships, the benefits of them and to take advantage of the incentives available.  

I would love to chat with any business currently exploring apprenticeships and those that have climbed the ladder following an apprenticeship!”