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The Corporation

Posted: 24/05/13

New centre places college at forefront of Nottingham’s skills agenda

A new centre to help 16 to 24-year-olds access apprenticeships and support businesses to up-skill their workforce has opened in Nottingham.

Located at 121 Canal Street, it is one of 11 across the country run by Vision Workforce Skills and Vision Apprentices – subsidiary companies of West Nottinghamshire College Group.

The centre acts as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for advertising apprenticeship vacancies and links into employment, along with training, assessment and support for businesses to develop their talent pool.

Specialising in IT along with creative and digital media – two of Nottingham’s growth sectors – the centre also recruits to an extensive range of apprenticeship programmes across various industries, ranging from business administration to legal services and construction.

It was officially opened today (Friday 24 May 2013) by principal and chief executive Asha Khemka OBE; David Way, executive director at the National Apprenticeship Service; and Cllr Nick McDonald, portfolio holder for jobs and growth at Nottingham City Council.

Mrs Khemka said the college’s expansion into Nottingham would place it at the forefront of the city’s skills agenda.

“Having a physical presence in Nottingham enables us to extend our offer to city-based employers through bespoke training and the recruitment of apprentices,” said Mrs Khemka.

“This represents a major development for the college and enables us to play our full part in supporting Nottingham Apprenticeship Hub’s bid to create 1,000 new apprenticeships by 2015 and the City Deal’s ambitious plans for a ‘creative quarter’.

“As a leading provider of apprenticeships and employer-related training nationally, we have much to offer businesses and young people in the city and we’re now strategically well-placed to support its plans for jobs, growth and regeneration.”

Graham Howe, the college’s vice-principal for business development, said: “Bringing Vision Workforce Skills and Vision Apprentices together under one roof combines their duel expertise in employer engagement and apprenticeship recruitment.

“We’re confident this approach will prove highly successful, which is good news for local people and local businesses, and we’re rolling out this model across our network of centres across the country.”

David Way said: “I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to see first-hand the benefits this new centre will provide to both businesses and young people in Nottingham. Having a dedicated, physical presence like this in the city will make it even easier for young people to find an apprenticeship, which will enable them to learn in a real job, gain a real qualification and set them on the road to success in their chosen career.

“For businesses, apprenticeships are the best and simplest way of attracting talented young people and I would encourage local employers to make use of the expertise which has been brought together here at the centre to achieve this.

“There has never been a better time to hire an apprentice.  Throughout 2013, organisations with up to 1,000 employees can apply for a £1500 grant to help cover the cost of taking on a young person.”

Cllr Nick McDonald said:  “Apprenticeships are a major priority for Nottingham at the moment. They create real opportunities for our young people and we want many more of them in the city.

“The focus on IT and creative and digital media is a great opportunity for growing Nottingham’s Creative Quarter and getting more young people into work in Nottingham.”

Set over two floors, the Nottingham centre contains a reception and waiting area, office, interview and assessment rooms and a ‘shop front’ for advertising local apprenticeship vacancies.  It is open 8.30am - 5pm Monday to Friday and is available on a drop-in basis or by calling 0115 958 5285.

With 15,000 apprentices and work-based learners, West Nottinghamshire College Group is one of the largest providers of employer-related training in the country.

Around 7,000 of its apprentices are recruited directly by their employer and attend college on day-release as part of their learning, while its recruitment service, Vision Apprentices, has found jobs for more than 2,000 young people through an apprenticeship since its launch in 2010.

Earlier this year, the college assumed responsibility for an additional 4,000 apprentices when it took over most of the vocational training carried out by the former Pearson in Practice, following parent company Pearson Plc’s decision to exit the business.

It saw the college launch Vision Workforce Skills, which delivers industry-specific apprenticeships and work-based programmes to employers across the country, primarily in professional and business services, IT, and creative and digital media.

Other centres are located in Birmingham, Bristol, Croydon, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Sheffield (two centres), Slough and Southampton, with an administrative base in Mansfield.