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East of England Essex

IoD Essex: Apprenticeships - Developing talent to fill skill shortages

John Granneman 02 Apr 2018
apprenticeships institute of directors

Business owners and and directors met at Chelmsford College to discuss Apprenticeships, the Apprenticeship Levy and how businesses in Essex can develop their training programmes.

Business owners and and directors met at Chelmsford College to discuss Apprenticeships, the Apprenticeship Levy and how businesses in Essex can develop their training programmes. Organised by the Essex branch of the Institute of Directors, the meeting included a panel of apprenticeship experts, all of whom were able to provide up to date advice, guidance and recommendations on training opportunities across the county. The panel included:

Andrew Sparks – Principal, Chelmsford College

Andy joined the College in September 2014 with 19 years’ experience working in Further and Higher Education across a number of vocational sectors. After starting as a new blood lecturer at Suffolk College in 1995 he progressed through the ranks, becoming a Senior Teaching Practitioner. Andy’s managerial career began at Otley College where he took up the post of Curriculum Manager of Technology and latterly Director of Business Services before joining Writtle College as Head of Further Education. Andy originally trained as an Auto Electrician in Ipswich and is still active within the sector through his ongoing involvement with the Institute of the Motor Industry.

Ashley Phillips - Apprentice with Maycast-Nokes (Apprenticeship National awards 2017 - regional winner)

Ashley progressed through an advanced apprenticeship and is now part-way through his higher, with the future view to take on a degree apprenticeship, should the opportunity arise. He believes that his experience can be used to help others, and has been partaking in events with Maycast-Nokes to help young people choose a path for their future, and has seen the impact it has been having, with some individuals arriving for interviews with Maycast. Ashley has also signed on to the young apprenticeship ambassador network. He believes the first years of an apprenticeship are the most challenging, but also the most important in helping you to develop, which is why he is so interested and dedicated to helping people take those first steps.

Seamus Neavin - Head of Policy Research at the IoD

Seamus has extensive public policy experience. Prior to joining the IoD, he worked in the policy unit of a party in the Northern Ireland Assembly, the public affairs division of a major UK third sector organisation, for a leading international think tank, and for an economic policy research institute operated jointly between the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Oxford. Seamus is a regular commentator across radio, print, online and television media. Seamus is a member of numerous groups including the Department for Education's Teaching Excellence Framework advisory group, the Business Enterprise Reference Group at Ofsted, the Vocational and Technical Qualifications Stakeholder Group at Ofqual, the Migration and Brexit Advisory Group at the University of Surrey and the University of Sussex, and the Stakeholder Reference Panel at the Institute for Apprenticeships.

Amanda Rawlings - Business Development Manager, Adult Community Learning

Amanda has worked in the apprenticeship sector for 17 years. She has worked with a raft of employers both large and small and on a range apprenticeship provision including IT, Business, Care, Management and Accounting. Currently employed at ACL Essex County Council, she heads up the Employability and Enterprise Team, delivering apprenticeships and professionally accredited learning programmes across the county.

Paula Hornett - Lead Commissioner for Post 16 Education Essex County Council

Paula has over 30 years’ experience working to promote sustainable post 16 progression, though the delivery of quality Careers Education and Information, Advice and Guidance. Throughout her career to-date, she has led diverse delivery teams and managed large scale capital investments projects; aiding the development of programmes which have contributed to a continuous improvement in young people’s engagement in learning and sustainable employment outcomes. Paula has extensive experience of collaborative working with a wide range of stakeholders across the Eastern Region, affording her an insight into the future skills requirements of key business sectors within Essex and neighbouring authority areas.

Some words from the speakers;

The event was well organised with the local business community attending from various industry sectors. The knowledgeable panel of experts addressed questions from the audience ranging from the impact of the apprenticeship levy to ways of increasing awareness of apprenticeships being offered by training providers. Education & training were key points raised with emphasis on all stake-holders working together to realise the true value of such a scheme. Christine Bhatt, IoD Essex Chair and CEO of Systematics International Limited.

Apprenticeships offer a wealth of opportunities for employers and apprentices. This event enabled key influencers to discuss the opportunities and how apprenticeships can help companies fill skill shortages now and post-Brexit. We explored perceptions, highlighted the advantages of apprenticeships versus traditional education and gained valuable insight into what is most important to employers. Chelmsford College were delighted to host the event and remain committed to driving apprenticeships forward. Andy Spark, Principal, Chelmsford College

I felt the event was very beneficial on dealing with the fast approaching issues of skills within the UK. It was great to see the view from a variety of backgrounds and industries, each giving their own unique insight on the value of apprenticeships and where they need to be taken. Especially useful, I thought, was the discussion on how to remove the stigma from apprenticeships and get parents, teachers and young people understanding that apprenticeships are just as viable as university, and that it depends on the person you are, and the industry you wish to work in. Ashley Phillips, Production Engineer Apprentice, Maycast-Nokes Precision Engineering Ltd

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