Cheers of celebration rang out around Northbrook College’s West Durrington campus at an event toasting the success of the 100 in 100 campaign.
The Herald and Gazette joined MP Tim Loughton, Worthing’s outgoing mayor Ann Barlow, plus a number of apprentices and employers to mark the conclusion of the hugely-well received three month joint initiative.
College principal Sue Dare helped cut a specially-decorated cake designed with the official tally of 128 apprenticeship placements and employer pledges achieved since we started back in January.
Supported by the National Apprenticeship Service, which praised the scheme for hitting its target a clear month ahead of schedule, the end of campaign night saw some of the area’s biggest employers gather to share in the celebrations.
In his role as children and families minister, East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton has championed the need for young people to gain as strong an education and qualifications as possible. He revealed providing apprenticeships was “a big priority for Government” over the next few years and highlighted the efforts of companies across the area in engaging with the scheme.
Speaking at the event, he said: “It’s great to see a good news story like this. It is fantastic to have achieved 128 apprenticeships and just shows what can be done in partnership between the college and The Herald.
“This is about providing local jobs and raising the profile of apprenticeships – people really do understand what apprenticeships are and can relate to them.
“Nationally, there’s been a massive increase in them – we’ve created 457,000 places last year, so it’s great to see this being supported at local level.
“The payback a company gets from taking on an apprentice is within two to three years in creating additions to their business, so it’s just a win-win situation. If firms give them a chance then they can really benefit their employers. We have to make sure that we have well-qualified apprentices so that they stand a good chance of getting jobs. I wish the very best to those 128 who gained places, who I hope will go on to become champions for apprenticeships so we can go on creating more good news stories.”
Members of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club’s Albion in the Community education and outreach group, which has forged a significant link with the Northbrook apprenticeship programme, gave a presentation at the celebrations.
Among the group was Lancing’s Kieran Green (who has studied level 2 through Northbrook college and starred in our first supplement in February), who joined his friends speaking about overcoming the challenge of having cerebral palsy in carrying out their community football coaching.
Ann Barlow, Worthing’s outgoing mayor, also backed the campaign. She said: “I think it is amazing that they’ve achieved this target, which just shows what can be done.
“This is excellent for 16 to 25-year-olds, which will give them work experience while they are learning.”
Teresa Sanders, disability football development manager of Albion in the Community, believed the 100 in 100 campaign had served a strong purpose in highlighting its connection with the football club and wider drive for apprenticeships.
Gavin Graham, of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “It is tremendous that Northbrook has risen to this challenge and is good news for both apprentices and employers – who have been made more aware of apprenticeships through the challenge. I’ve been involved with a few 100 in 100 campaigns now and this has been one of the top ones for reaching its target.”
Brenda Cook, apprenticeship manager at Northbrook, added: “It has just been a great campaign full of surprises. It has been an incredibly eventful time, with lots of hard work, but it has been worthwhile.”