As part of National Apprenticeship Week Eastleigh College recently facilitated an insightful employer lunch, where local employers were invited to hear the business benefits of taking on an Apprentice, directly from some of the Colleges current Apprenticeship employers.
The event, which took place at the College's Red Carpet Restaurant, saw over 30 individuals, including a range of local employers, join together to understand what Apprenticeships are, how they can be of value to the individual learner and why they are great for business.
Sara Harris, Human Resources Officer at large local employer Prysmian Cables and Systems Limited who currently employs 10 apprentices and is looking to recruit more, was the first employer to address the audience, commenting "As a manufacturing organisation, Apprenticeships are a great way for us to get people into the business and up-skill them; helping us fill skills gaps and cutting recruitment costs. We treat Apprenticeships as a 2-3 year interview process, with a view to securing each Apprentice with a full-time job at the end of their qualification. You would be surprised how much investing in young people really does increase staff morale; we would definitely recommend Apprenticeships!"
Jon Belfield, Managing Director of local SME InTandem Systems Limited, who currently employs 7 apprentices and was an Apprentice himself, spoke enthusiastically about the benefits that he has seen, both as an Apprentice and by continuing to employ Apprentices within his business. "For me, Apprentices are the backbone to a business's growth and success; it's an opportunity to do the right thing for the right people! Apprentices are mentored to develop InTandem's business culture, giving our workforce the technical, hands-on knowledge and skills that are required for continued sustainable growth. As a result, two of our most technical roles are now filled by ex-Apprentices; we can't recommend Apprenticeships highly enough!"
As well as the guest employer speakers, attendees were also given a welcome address by Dr Jan Edrich, Eastleigh College Chief Executive and Principal and an overview of Apprenticeships by John Pratt, Head of Eastleigh College Training Agency (ECTA).
Graham King, Manager at Butler and Young, based in Totton, Hampshire commented "Today's event has been very positive and encouraging; its opened up my eyes to the whole approach to Apprenticeships as I didn't fully understand it before. Hearing the speakers talk about succession planning was especially relevant for us as there is not a huge amount of younger people who are up-and-coming in our industry." Charlie Craven, Director at Butler and Young added "We would absolutely take on an Apprentice after today; I would be disappointed if we didn't!"
Speaking after the event Dr Edrich commented "With over 8,000 Apprentices currently in learning with Eastleigh College, we really felt as though we were best suited to shout about the real benefits that employers can get from modern Apprenticeship programmes. For us, today's event really does help to prove that there has never been a better time to recruit an Apprentice!"
Mims Davies, Conservative Prospective MP for Eastleigh Constituency, added "It was fantastic to be at the event to celebrate Eastleigh College having 8,000 Apprentices in training during National Apprenticeship week. This skills and training opportunity is good for business and helps grow our economy."
For more information on the support available in recruiting and employing an apprentice, as well as the range of Apprenticeship courses offered at Eastleigh College, which now includes over 50 different subject options, please telephone 023 8091 1000. Alternatively, the College will be holding a full-time courses and Apprenticeships open event on Tuesday 24th March, 4:30-7:30pm.