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The Corporation

Posted: 26/03/10

College kicks off major apprenticeship scheme

A pioneering scheme to recruit more than 2,500 apprentices over the next three years is being launched by West Nottinghamshire College at an event at Mansfield Town FC’s Field Mill stadium.

The college is setting up its own recruitment service to help employers deliver long-term apprenticeships to young people.

It is one of just 12 organisations throughout the country to receive a share of £7m of Government funding to set up an Apprenticeship Training Association (ATA).

ATAs are companies or partnerships acting as recruitment services that place apprentices with ‘host’ employers.  A concept first devised in Australia, they offer firms greater flexibility than employing trainees directly.

‘Vision Apprentices’ will be a wholly-owned subsidiary company of the college, specialising in manufacturing, engineering and maintenance apprenticeships for 16 to 18-year-olds.

It will work with local and national companies to provide long-term placements for 2,550 apprentices in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, passenger transport and logistics, which the Government says are vital for the country’s economic growth.   

Training will be delivered by tutors with vast expertise in their field, using state-of-the-art facilities and resources.

Vision Apprentices will pre-screen all potential candidates before matching them up with an employer’s specific needs. It will also help businesses save on recruitment costs by advertising apprenticeship vacancies on their behalf.

If the host employer is unable to continue supporting the apprentice for any reason, they will return to Vision Apprentices and be-assigned to another business, allowing the apprentice to continue their training.

West Nottinghamshire College already provides training to some of the biggest passenger transport and logistics organisations in the country including Arriva, First Group, Bombardier, DB Schenker, Trackwork and DHL.

Graham Howe, the college’s director of employer engagement, said: “Vision Apprentices will create significant employment opportunities for 16 to 18-year-olds interested in forging a career in engineering, rail and logistics. It will find ambitious young people who’ve chosen to train in these specialised fields and skill them for the future.

“Trainees will be recruited and employed directly by Vision Apprentices, which will advertise vacancies, vet the candidates and match them up with suitable opportunities in industry.  This means businesses that previously didn’t feel able to offer apprenticeships can now get involved.

“And if the employer’s circumstances change, the apprentice can be handed back and re-assigned, which further reduces the burden on businesses during these difficult economic times.

“This is a really exciting scheme and great news for young people and employers. Investing in apprenticeships now will help businesses to remain competitive and ready for the up-turn.”

Vision Apprentices will be launched to businesses in the engineering, rail and logistics industries at an event at Field Mill on Saturday 3 April, which will involve a presentation by West Nottinghamshire College in the stadium’s Kevin Bird Suite.

Businesses in these sectors wishing to attend, or wanting further information about Vision Apprentices, should call 01623 413634 or email training-solutions@wnc.ac.uk