REACHING the milestone target of 100 apprentices in 100 days more than 30 days early is a feat Northbrook College should be proud of.
Having gained an excellent start back in January with backing from MPs Sir Peter Bottomley, Tim Loughton, and the area’s chamber of commerce, it felt like there was an excellent weight of support behind the scheme.
Underpinned by support from the National Apprenticeship Service, our campaign with the college has consistently seen strong interest from a wealth of businesses across the Herald and Gazette Area.
From the likes of major national firms such as Rolls-Royce, Bowers & Wilkins speakers and GlaxoSmithKline, through to small independent care groups, there has been a hugely positive response.
As the Northbrook team has explained, from the very first week there was high demand for apprentices. This came in the wake of a government announcement offering an added incentive for companies receiving financial support for taking on apprentices (£1,500 per candidate).
Brenda Cook, apprenticeship manager, said that many at the college had felt almost overwhelmed by just how enthusiastic the campaign has been embraced by the community.
She said: “I think it has just been incredible and I would like to thank all those employers who have taken on apprentices, the response has just been mind blowing. It has been so good for us.
“Last week, we had our first event for all those 20 apprentices who we have working for the college across our three sites, which we want to continue on a regular basis so that they can all keep in touch with each other.
“I think employers have really seen just what the benefits of having apprentices can be and it gives the apprentices the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time.
“One of the main things is that we have one of the highest success rates in the country for our apprentice placements, so it is a real success story.”
She added there was a growing trend for a number of students to go on from initial NVQ level two and three apprenticeship to study higher apprenticeships at level four and five, which were equivalent to foundation degrees. Northbrook College principal Sue Dare welcomed gaining the 100 target. She said: “It is fantastic we have reached the 100 Apprenticeships target in 67 days. It’s a real tribute to all the local employers, the Herald and our Apprenticeship Team. We will be carrying on to see how many more we can recruit by our May 5 target date.”