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Shropshire
Friday, February 23, 2024
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Apprenticeships are helping employers to plug skills gaps

Apprenticeships are playing a crucial role in helping Shropshire businesses to plug skills gaps and overcome recruitment challenges, according to one of the county’s leading apprenticeship providers.

Telford College
Telford College

Telford College’s employer engagement team is working with hundreds of local employers, sourcing and training apprentices from entry level all the way up to degree level.

It’s National Apprenticeship Week from February 5-11, and the college has a busy events programme showcasing many of the successful partnerships – and promoting dozens of existing apprenticeship vacancies.

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The team will be at the All About Apprenticships show at the Croud Meadow in Shrewsbury on February 6, and is supporting ‘skills for life’ campaigns with Telford Job Box, including a major skills show at Telford’s International Centre next month.

Telford College now offers 22 apprenticeships, including five new pathways which have been introduced in response to demand from employers, in line with the findings of the region’s new Local Skills Improvement Plan.

They are Multi Channel Marketer level three, Lead Engineering Maintenance Technician level three, Software Development level three, People’s Professional level five, and Autocare level two.

Some of Shropshire’s biggest and best-known businesses are currently partnered with the college to recruit and train apprentices.

They include former Shropshire Company of the Year winners Dodd Group and McPhillips of Telford, Market Drayton’s two biggest employers Muller and Palethorpes, Chasetown Civil Engineering, Lovell, Southwater Events Group, Telford & Wrekin Council, Wrekin Housing Trust, and Housing Plus Group

Chris Field, Telford College business development manager, said: “We have a great deal of repeat business from companies which see apprenticeships as a valuable tool to help meet their recruitment needs and plug skills gaps.

“Some of the businesses we work with may have initially just taken on one apprentice to test the water – but others have employed multiple apprentices over a number of years. And in many cases, we’ve been able to support these companies with other training needs too.

“Our role is all about working in partnership with local companies, listening to their needs, and tailoring apprenticeships which provide them with the skills they require.”

Telford College’s principal and chief executive Graham Guest – a former apprentice himself – said: “Apprenticeships are real jobs – a chance to gain valuable qualifications alongside real-world work experience.

“With an apprenticeship, you’re on a clear career route. There’s a plan in place and a pathway for you to take – and you’ll earn your salary from your very first day.

“These days it’s possible to do an apprenticeship in pretty much anything – there are pathways for people of all ages.”

Tehya Meakin is currently on an apprenticeship with manufacturing firm Fabweld, and has been directly involved with helping the Madeley-based business to get the best out of its online health and safety platform.

Managing director Wayne Carter said: “Our apprenticeship programmes are a very effective way to improve staff retention, and develop good calibre employees that directly translates into improved business performance.

“Our overall experience with Telford College has been a very positive one. The college understood our requirements and were very thorough in helping to match the best possible apprentice for the specific role that we were looking to fill.”

Another local employer which has turned to Telford College to source an apprentice is facilities maintenance company Corb Limited, based at Central Park.

Finance manager Amy Charman said: “We have had a positive experience with both Telford College and our apprentice, Tristan Caesar.

“From start to finish of the recruitment process, the college were informative and ensured we were kept informed at every point as the employer. The process as a whole was much easier than first anticipated, and Tristan has been a brilliant addition to the accounts team.”

Telford College also runs an apprenticeship hub, bringing employers together to share best practice and discuss the challenges of employing and developing people.

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