The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2024 is 'Skills for Life'. Working with our partner colleges, we're encouraging everyone to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and employers to develop a workforce with future ready skills.
Colleges in West Yorkshire are showcasing the impact of their apprenticeship programmes throughout the awareness week (5-11 February).
Twenty two year old Sofia Kousar is a Level 3 Apprentice at Gem Compliance Training, the Apprenticeships team at Shipley College helped Sofia to find her perfect fit.
"I have been an apprentice for GEM since September and I am loving every moment so far!
"I am now doing a Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship. I knew I wanted to work in the Business sector, I did Business as one of my A Levels, and that was helpful for background knowledge, and helpful for my application. I wanted to develop my practical skills further, so actually I chose the apprenticeship over going and studying Business at Uni. I started in September, and they named me as ‘Employee of the Month’ for October!!
"I have a fantastic team at Gem, without them I couldn't have started so well in my apprenticeship. I really appreciate all their support and their time - they make sure I have everything I need to do well on a daily basis. They helped me to pick up the work really quickly, and they also like that I ask for something else once I have finished my work, so it is working well for everyone!"
Isaac Butler, aged 17 is a Level 2 Welding and Fabrication Apprentice at Heat Exchange Group in Wakefield.
Isaac said, “I actually started on a full-time Engineering course in September, but I just didn’t feel that it was right for me. I came on an open day to the Heat Exchange Group and after having a walk around, I decided to apply for an apprenticeship vacancy that they had open. Getting the apprenticeship was a big step forward for me personally and made me feel like I was progressing as I was now part of the working world.
"Doing an apprenticeship is a brilliant thing to do to get prepared for working. It’s really beneficial to you as an individual as you’re able to earn money whilst making progress in your learning and career.”
Chloe Wallace at Heat Exchange Group said,
"Apprenticeships have huge benefits for companies like ours, especially where there are quite significant skills gaps. By investing in apprentices, this benefits our workforce and productivity as we can minimise that gap between theoretical application and practical application – enabling us to get the skills that we need for long-term success much quicker than we would be if we didn't invest in apprentices.
"The reason why we love working with Heart of Yorkshire Education Group on our Fabrication and Welding apprenticeships is because they took a very individualised approach when co-designing the apprenticeship framework with us. They worked really hard to understand what our needs and requirements were as quite a niche manufacturer in things like pressure vessels for example. These are particularly important for us because it is a skill that has over the years become less accessible to us in the labour market because of ageing workforces.”
Jason McCartney, MP for Colne Valley, also gave a positive endorsement of Kirklees College's apprenticeship provision:
“With over 1,000 apprentices trained at Kirklees College every year they have an increasingly impressive reputation with local employers. I’m grateful for all their support when I hired an apprentice in my constituency office who was studying at Kirklees College. Earning whilst learning is a great option for many young people in our area and I’m delighted to see the positive partnerships being formed between the college and our major local companies.”
As part of the National Apprenticeship Week celebrations, the college has been interviewing a range of their apprentices and employers in a series of video case studies. View more case studies and find out more about apprentices at Kirklees College.
Twenty four year old Charlotte Smith, is one of Leeds City College's Fabrication and Welding Apprentices, working at GSM Valtech.
"You're never too old to start again, I'm 24. Going back to college again wasn't exactly something I thought I would be doing but age shouldn't be a hindrance.
"An apprenticeship is a great way to learn whatever it is you're interested in, you get the experience from your work as well as the deeper knowledge that the college can provide. It's not always easy but there is always great help and support there if you need it."
Find out more about apprenticeship opportunities at your local college:
Luminate Education Group Apprenticeships (Leeds, Keighley, Harrogate)