West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

7 February 2022

New project will improve apprentices' skills in the region

National Apprenticeships Week 2022

A £3.2 million project will give hundreds of apprentices in West Yorkshire the extra skills they need to excel in the workplace.

Managed by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges and funded by the European Social Fund, ‘Collaborative Apprenticeships’ will deliver short, ‘wrap around’ courses for apprentices across a wide range of sectors.

Shipley College and Leeds City College are two of the first colleges to develop and deliver its ‘Enhanced Apprenticeships’ courses in addition to the training received on standard apprenticeships. These include customer services, mental health, digital and leadership skills.

Linda O’Donnell, Director of Business Development at Shipley College said, “The Enhanced Apprenticeship qualifications will bring additional awareness, skills and confidence to apprentices. This will benefit them in the workplace now, and with their long-term career prospects.

“In addition to their standard apprenticeship training, they are released to college to complete extra training, to mix with other apprentices and develop broader skills to give them a more rounded awareness of the workplace.”

Mohammed Amaan is an Enrolments and Exams Apprentice at Shipley College. He is one of the first to complete the Mental Health Awareness Level 2 course. Mohammed Amaan, Apprentice

He said, “Giving apprentices the opportunity to take this unit and study it is a great way of making young people aware of Mental Health.

“The knowledge I have gained will help me in my current role as in the exams office as I am working in a college where mental health problems are very common.

“It has not only made me aware of Mental Health and the many forms it has but helped me better understand it and how to help people who are suffering from it in a controlled and professional way.”

The ‘Enhanced Apprenticeship’ courses are part of the wider project which will also offer programmes to:

  • support more people into apprenticeships,
  • help new businesses to take on apprentices and,
  • provide leadership opportunities for apprentices.

Calderdale College, Luminate Education Group (including Leeds City College), Leeds College of Building, Shipley College and Wakefield College, Wakefield Council and the Textile Centre of Excellence will work in partnership with several local employers (including City of Bradford MDC) to deliver the range of pilot projects.

Billie Dickson is currently on the Business Administrator apprenticeship at Shipley College within the additional learning support department. She has just completed the Customer Service Enhanced Apprenticeship course as part of the project.

Billie Dickson, ApprenticeBillie said, “Doing the customer services course has helped me to gain confidence in speaking to people and helping them with any questions or problems. It helped me to learn how to deal with different types of customers and gave an insight to the different situations you might come up against.

“The course gave me reassurance to know that what I was already doing in the workplace when communicating with customers was the right thing to do, but it gave extra bits of advice.”

These pilot projects will test new, ‘wrap around’ training and services for apprentices and employers that will be funded by European Social Fund. This should enhance the apprenticeship experience and equip apprentices with the right skills to help businesses grow.

Collaborative Apprenticeships E-Flyer

Latest Collaborative Apprenticeships courses available to apprentices

Photos: Apprentice Mohammed Amaan with Mental Health Awareness Level 2 certificate and Apprentice Billie Dickson with Customer Services Level 2 certificate

The Collaborative Apprenticeships project is receiving up to £3.2million of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regeneration.

For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.


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