Lee Tennant - Head of Business Partnerships, Newcastle College
Newcastle College


Newcastle College on Why Now is the Time to Hire an Apprentice

There’s never been a better time for North East businesses to bring highly skilled apprentices on board. Lee Tennant, Head of Business Partnerships at Newcastle College, explains why.

Last October I started my new role at Newcastle College – overseeing our outstanding apprentices and working with local businesses to develop the workforce of the future.

Given my previous experience working within similar roles at the College, I felt well prepared for the challenge. But twelve months down the line and nobody could have foreseen the changes that would affect every aspect of our lives. Like everyone else, we’re continuing to adapt to meet the challenges of an uncertain future.

The pandemic has impacted on economies across the globe but here in the North East we remain as resilient as ever. We look at the current situation in terms of an opportunity, rather than a threat. And although the UK economy has retracted, that in itself has encouraged businesses to drive forward innovation and diversification.

That’s what we want to see. At Newcastle College we’re focused on finding solutions and pointing the way forward. That includes developing a workforce that’s fit for purpose and in a position to support that drive towards a new future.

The apprenticeships we facilitate are at the heart of that approach and our apprentices are key to supporting the economy and helping it to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

At the beginning of 2020 we partnered with North Tyneside based DXC, to help them recruit a brand-new cohort of apprentices. Despite the challenges thrown up during lockdown and a swift move to remote working, we were able to continue our support and keep on schedule to secure those opportunities – something which proves just how valuable apprentices can be to a business.

Callum Cairns, the Apprentice Programme Lead for DXC commented: “Thanks to the hard work of Newcastle College, the calibre of candidates DXC received was incredibly high.

“Now, we’re able to see the importance of the qualities that many of these apprentices possess - adapting to change, working independently and being able to pick up new skills in a speedy fashion.

“Looking at the wider industries, it’s logical to assume that because of the beneficial qualities apprentices possess they are going to play huge part in the recovery and rebuild of the UK economy. They will be able to support businesses with the challenges they face and bring in a raft of new, fresh ideas.”

Both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer recognise the value of our emerging workforce at a time when the whole nation is pulling together. That’s why they’ve backed a new incentive scheme for businesses across the board - those looking to bounce back and those looking to grow in the face of adversity.

The ‘Plan for Jobs’ scheme offers up to £3,000 for each new apprentice employed. It’s a fantastic opportunity for young people to get into the workplace and for firms to benefit from an enthusiastic and skilled cohort of committed young people. It’s a win-win situation.

A report published in 2018 demonstrated that a highly skilled workforce is a more productive one. Apprentices bring the latest learning to the table and contribute an estimated gross productivity gain of £2.4 billion to the UK economy (CEBR). I see our students in action day in, day out and it’s no surprise to me that they’re such an invaluable asset.

Apprenticeships can improve local economic growth in so many ways. Of course, they’re intended to improve the skills, wages and future career progression of participating individuals. Here at Newcastle College we want our students to be able to reach for the sky and develop personally and professionally. Apprenticeships help them to do that.

But as the CEBR research proves, they can also impact positively on the productivity of those firms taking on apprentices.

Apprentices bring a breath of fresh air to the workplace. They inject a fresh perspective, new ideas and emerging talent into businesses across our region. They’re innovators and they can inspire. And at a time when there’s a pressing need to embrace diversification and take risks, I can’t think of a better group of people to invest in.

So please check out the ‘Plan for Jobs’ scheme and know that Newcastle College - and our amazing apprentices - are here to take your business to the next level.

Lee Tennant Head of Business Partnerships, Newcastle College



This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Newcastle College .

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