Debra Forsythe-Conroy: It’s that time of year again

Made in Sheffield - Sheffield Precision Medical Ltd. Pictured is Apprentice Connor Birch. Picture: Chris Etchells
Made in Sheffield - Sheffield Precision Medical Ltd. Pictured is Apprentice Connor Birch. Picture: Chris Etchells

This time of year brings life changing decisions for many who are considering their next steps following school and whether to explore opportunities in Further Education or Higher Education; University or College.

There is another option though by earning whilst learning on an apprenticeship. Our commercial apprenticeships team (HCUK Training) have been engaging with schools, parents and community groups to help support individuals consider their next steps and advising them on the value and opportunities apprenticeships can offer.

September signals the start of the new academic year and HCUK Training have been securing apprenticeship opportunities, engaging with local businesses, attending recruitment events in school and supporting college leavers in taking the step into the world of work based learning.

This year has seen a monumental change in the way apprenticeships are delivered and funded and expect that this change will prove significantly beneficial to all new recruits taking up an apprenticeship. The changes to apprenticeships this year aims to ensure the highest quality training that meets both business and learner demand. It may not be known for example, that employers are now heavily involved in the design of qualifications and training or that employers now have to invest financially not only in their apprentice but in the training itself. This means that those employers recruiting apprentices are committing significant investment in their apprentices leading to fantastic career opportunities for individuals but ensuring they secure the future skills to meet business demand.

Harrogate College work hard to ensure the offer to learners and employers is broad and meets local business need.

HCUK Training offers to business, training and qualifications that meet local need and a free recruitment service ensuring companies get the right apprentice. It offers to learners, a broad range of vacancies and an experienced and dedicated recruitment team with the skills to not only find a great apprenticeship opportunity but friendly and tailored advice and guidance on how to successfully secure an apprenticeship (especially useful for those not sure or not quite ready to take that big step).

Additionally for those who are unsure about University, prospective students are surprised to know that they can still achieve a degree through the apprenticeship route through a Higher Level Degree Apprenticeship (HLDA) or a Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA). This option often suits a student who prefers a more hands-on experience. Apprenticeships really are for everyone.

Harrogate College deliver apprenticeships in everything from Business Administration to Customer Service, Supporting Teaching & Learning, Electrical Installation, Motor Vehicle, Construction trades, Hairdressing, Hospitality and Health and Care. The recruitment campaigns vary in size and scale and currently include local projects with well-known employers in Harrogate and the surrounding area. One such project involving an exciting apprenticeship campaign in the healthcare sector in Harrogate is really ramping up and so far has seen offers to a wide range of individuals of all age and background and includes some of our very own graduates.

So for those considering an apprenticeship, for parents wondering if this is the right route for their child or for businesses yet to employ an apprentice, our doors are always open.