The College of West Anglia leads a £2.7 million project to increase the number of apprenticeships
A new project led by the College of West Anglia with a £2.7 million funding pot is aiming to build careers and benefit businesses.
It aims to encourage the uptake of apprentices and number of apprenticeships being offered across West Norfolk, as well as across the geographical area of the former Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Area Enterprise.
The Target Apprenticeships project is funded by the European Social Fund and has brought a project value of £2.7 million to the area.
The advantages of being trained and gaining qualifications along the way has been underlined by Vanessa Wallis, an apprentice laboratory technician at Lynn's Bespak.
She said: “Apprenticeships are a really good way for anyone to gain the skills and knowledge to help them build a career. The apprenticeship programme at Bespak helps you gain practical skills necessary for your job role as well as learning about the company and understanding the role each department plays.
"Whilst studying at the College of West Anglia, my course has covered many different avenues of science and I am then able to bring that knowledge back into the workplace and apply it to my role in the lab.
"I’ve already learnt so much and I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of my apprenticeship will involve.”
The college currently works with over 900 employers, providing training to more than 1,100 apprentices a year across different industry areas, including engineering, administration, retail and horticulture.
CWA is working in partnership with other colleges – Cambridge Regional College, Peterborough Regional College and West Suffolk College as well as Steadfast Training, Form the Future CIC, Edge Partnership and Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education.
Hiring an apprentice is an effective way for any business to develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce and employers who have an established apprenticeship programme reported that productivity in their workplace had improved by 76 per cent.
Other benefits that apprenticeships contribute towards include increasing employee satisfaction, reducing staff turnover and reducing recruitment costs.
Susie Massen, project manager for the ESF and work-based projects at CWA, said: "One focus area will be to target those who want to become apprentices and remove any barriers that are stopping them to achieve this goal, while another will be to target businesses who are employing less than 250 employees and who have not had an apprentice in the last three years."
CWA principal, David Pomfret, said: "The productive partnership that exists between employers, apprentices and education and training providers are vital to the growth of our economy and increasing skills development across the area."
Businesses interested in hiring and those seeking apprenticeships should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.