The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) today launches a new apprenticeship scheme with the express objective of creating more than 400 new apprenticeships across Greater Cambridge.
The new service has been developed to plug the skills gap and fulfil a need for better trained and qualified employees in what is Europe's largest technology cluster. Around 57,000 people are employed by the more than 1,500 technology-based firms in the area, which have combined annual revenue of over £13 billion.
The service welcomes students seeking any type of apprenticeship but especially the much sought-after STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.
Two organisations, Form the Future CIC and Cambridge Regional College (CRC), will work together to manage the new service on behalf of the GCP and thus expand the number and range of apprenticeships. Many schools and parents find it difficult to advise young people on apprenticeship opportunities, so the service will help students to find, apply for and secure a position.
Cambridge Regional College will support businesses by helping them to establish how their skills gaps could be filled with apprentices, to find the right training provider, and to understand charges, grants and other considerations.
Form the Future will be responsible for communicating the service to students and parents and highlighting the opportunities that apprenticeships can provide. It will also help students get onto schemes with employers via group work, careers fairs and provision of 1:1 preparation.
As part of the service, a new website www.gcapps.co.uk will be launched which will enable candidates to register interest and enable employers to promote apprenticeship opportunities.
The service is encouraging schools and employers in the region to sign a pledge committing to taking an active part in the service. And some existing apprentices have volunteered as ambassadors to encourage students to consider apprenticeships. They will do this mainly online via social media but they will also visit schools to meet potential apprentices.
The overall approach is to challenge preconceptions about apprenticeships: who can sign up, the types available, the benefits – including the chance to ‘earn while you learn’ – and crucially, how to land an apprenticeship role. Surveys by Form the Future have revealed that more can be done to encourage parents and students to consider an apprenticeship.
Aidan Van de Weyer, chair of the GCP, said: “Greater Cambridge is growing and we must do all we can to make sure we make the most of this incredible growth and opportunities here. Increasing the number of apprenticeships is a key commitment of the GCP and helps both those getting into work and businesses themselves.
“I’m delighted to see this service launched today to help get those looking for an apprenticeship in touch with those who can deliver them”.
Mark Robertson, Principal and CEO of Cambridge Regional College, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the initiative for which we will be both a delivery partner and training establishment. The college plays a vital role in ensuring our students learn skills that employers want.
“Apprenticeships are a wonderful opportunity for students who do not wish to go to university but want to secure a skilled and rewarding job. It’s also very satisfying to be playing a key part in helping boost the region’s growth”.
Anne Bailey, co-founder and Director of Form the Future CIC, said: “Apprenticeships are not only a tremendous opportunity for young learners to start a great career but they’re also important in improving social mobility.
“As a facilitator of this service, we have three vital roles. Firstly in raising awareness, secondly in de-mystifying apprenticeships for students and their parents or carers, and thirdly in helping students identify the apprenticeships they want and managing their expectations and preparing them for interviews”.
The new apprenticeship service will be formally launched at a breakfast event at Madingley Hall on Wednesday 3rdJuly, but a roll out campaign will continue in the proceeding weeks. This will include a mix of digital and traditional channels beginning with raising awareness and then communicating the benefits of apprenticeships to candidates and businesses via case studies and success stories.
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