Learning while working: why apprenticeships are great for Milton Keynes businesses

Wed 12 Mar 2014

Businesses investing in apprenticeships get great employees with skills developed to help businesses grow, and make real, valuable contributions.

That was one of the key messages given by Milton Keynes College at Business Expo 3.0 on Thursday as part of its support for National Apprenticeship Week.

Representatives from the College, alongside the National Apprenticeship Service, gave a seminar to dele-gates explaining how apprenticeships are excellent for business and lead to real prospects for apprentices.

Dianne Cook, the College’s head of apprenticeship provision, described how the College works with busi-nesses to provide a wide range of apprenticeship training:

“We have between seven hundred and seven hundred and fifty apprentices across a range of skills and areas. We deliver apprenticeships across Milton Keynes and the wider area, working with small businesses all the way up to large corporations. Each campus is focused on delivering specific training areas.”

“For example, at our Chaffron Way campus engineering and construction apprentices are able to make use of our brand new Innovation & Technology Centre and there are facilities for employers to provide their specific technology and equipment for apprentices to use.”

“We offer a wide range of apprenticeships and we are always working to ensure demand is met in the local business community, and apprentices are given the best opportunities. This means businesses are getting great employees, who will grow and develop within the company and make meaningful contributions, whether the business is an SME or a larger corporation.”

Liz Coughlin from the National Apprenticeship Service talked attendees through how businesses can bring on board new apprentices and the training and qualifications available. She also dispelled some of the myths surrounding apprenticeships:

“They aren’t just for young people,” she said, “anyone over the age of sixteen is eligible. There is a much wider range of apprenticeships available than many people think, covering everything from accounting to fitness instructors.” 

“For anyone looking to take on new apprentices, there is government funding available for any apprentice aged between sixteen and twenty-four. This takes the form of a £1,500 grant, and is paid after thirteen weeks.”

“There is also funding to help cover training costs. Any apprentice aged sixteen to eighteen is fully funded by the government, meaning no cost for training to the employer. Apprentices aged nineteen to twenty-three are partly funded, as is the training for apprentices twenty-four and older up to intermediate level. This was reintroduced by the government very recently, and can offer real support for those looking to employ older apprentices. “

“Employers can specify what qualifications they are looking for in their apprentices, and the training over the course of the apprenticeship can be tailored to best support the apprentice, and give them the skills to develop.”

Simran Dhesi, an advanced apprentice in business administration at the College, was able to provide first- hand experience of the opportunities apprenticeships offer:

“Rather than going to university to study management and coming out with thousands of pounds of debt, doing the apprenticeship has given me practical experience, helped me develop my skills in a real work environment while earning money.”

“The experience has given me so many opportunities, working with lots of different departments, being able to attend events like the Expo, and I’ve been able to throw myself in at the deep end, and learn while I am working.”

As one of the largest training providers in the area and with over twenty years’ experience in delivering high-quality apprenticeship programmes across a wide range of occupational areas, the College works to help local businesses find the right apprentices and deliver high quality training and development.

For more information on the College’s work with apprenticeships, visit http://www.mkcollege.ac.uk/courses/by-type/apprenticeships/ . If you would like to know more about what the Innovation &Training Centre has to offer, please contact Claire.Gibbs@mkcollege.ac.uk

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