West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

9 March 2023

Unlocking Potential – Collaborative Apprenticeships Event Attracts Hundreds

Shipley College hosted ‘Apprenticeships Unlocked’ last February, welcoming over 400 prospective apprentices to meet with a mix of employers and training providers from the region.

Hosted by Shipley College in Victoria Hall, the event was part of the Collaborative Apprenticeships project which managed by the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges and funded through the European Social Fund. The project aims to increase the number of apprenticeships and apprentices in the Leeds City Region, while enhancing the apprenticeship experience and supporting employers to take on apprentices.

From business consultants and accountants to Northern Rail and chemical manufacturers there was a wide variety of over 30 exhibitors keenly publicising their opportunities to the attendees.

The aim of the event was to help attendees consider their next steps and having the combination of training providers and employers enabled prospective learners to understand some of the qualifications and apprenticeship routes available to them.

Linda O’Donnell, Director of Business Development at Shipley College said

With over 5,000 apprentices in the Bradford Metropolitan District Council area alone, there is a great track record and healthy growing population of apprentices. Encouraging more students to consider and start and apprenticeship is beneficial to their career development and the regional economy.

Among the attendees there was wide enthusiasm for early career experience that an apprenticeship gives a person. Apprenticeships can help individuals to make their way, earn, learn and build up top industry skills, contacts and work on high level projects.

The Collaborative Apprenticeships project is supporting people to make that first step through wrap around courses for apprentices, workshops to help employers take on and manage apprentices and courses that provide a first step towards an apprenticeship.

Natasha from Bingley attended the event to find out more about the opportunities available to her. She views getting into a career early as the most exciting part of an apprenticeship.

Natasha said,If I learn the right skills and get the best qualifications through an apprenticeship then that will put me in the best place in the future to consider any higher-level qualifications whether that be university, a degree apprenticeship or further.”

Junayd from Bradford had signed up to the event to meet the wide variety of employers. He said, “Meeting these employers has allowed me to consider sectors that he hadn't thought of before. I had originally come to the event to look at opportunities in engineering and manufacturing, but seeing organisations like the Police and Bradford Council and the apprenticeships they offered has opened my mind to new ideas.”

The event was made possible by the employers being available to discuss apprenticeships directly. These employers, along with the training providers are now supporting attendees with their applications, and to understand what their experiences as an apprentice might look like.

Baildon-based business, ACS Group exhibited at the event. Sacha Jones stated “We are enthusiastic about bringing local opportunities to local youngsters. Importantly, opportunities that are likely to have an impactful on them and their future careers. We are invested in supporting the best opportunities that can really change young people’s lives and break them into a sector that is quickly growing in this region.

Bill from Chemical manufacturers and exhibitors, Solenis said, Today's event has been a great opportunity to understand the aspirations of the young attendees and witness their enthusiasm for their futures and careers. It’s been great to be able to offer guidance and not necessarily always have to sell ourselves.”

Find out more about apprenticeships with our partner colleges, how to take on an apprentice and the funded training opportunities available as part of Collaborative Apprenticeships.


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