College puts students through their paces

INDUSTRY leaders have given apprentices their seal of approval, at a challenge event arranged by Sunderland College to mark National Apprenticeship week.

Businesspeople from University of Sunderland, npower and City Building Services (NE) Ltd are among the leading lights who offered their feedback to apprentices, as part of the college’s City Campus Challenge Event, which saw trainees take part in a series of skills challenges.

The event, which was organised to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week (NAW 2017), provided an opportunity for businesses to see the level of talent that the college is bringing through, as well as providing skills advice for students.

Students took part in a series of timed skills challenges in a range of subject areas like construction, engineering, catering and hospitality, and hair and beauty. Local employers then chose the winning students and a prize was awarded at the end of the event.

Ellen Thinnesen, principal and chief executive at Sunderland College, said: “The event was a great opportunity to showcase the fantastic ability of our students, in our industry standard City Campus, which itself is a truly inspiring environment that our guests from the world of work were all thoroughly impressed by.

“Events like this provide a mutually beneficial experience as the students had the chance to mix with industry leaders, and employers got to see the skills our students have.  As a college, we’re committed to ensuring our students are as work-ready as possible, and have exposure to the business environment, as well as having had the chance to meet with people who – eventually – could well employ them.

“While apprenticeships themselves are a great opportunity for young people to gain an understanding of what will be expected of them in the workplace, this event was an added opportunity for students to learn from an audience of employers, who will share their knowledge and teach them more about the skills and attributes they are looking for.”

Other local employers that attended the event included O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions Ltd, Sunderland BID, The Bridges and 21 Hospitality Group.

National Apprenticeship Week, now in its tenth year, is a government-led initiative which aims to bring together employees and apprentices, while encouraging students to choose apprenticeships as a fast-track to a great future career.

This year’s theme is ‘ladder of opportunity’ with a huge range of organisations, schools and colleges getting behind the initiative with events and activities, to showcase the many benefits an apprenticeship can bring while encouraging more employers to take on apprentices and for individuals to choose this route into the world of work.

Ellen added: “At Sunderland College, we absolutely understand the value of apprenticeships. Our apprenticeship results are 11% above the average for the sector, a clear indication of our high standards and quality. We are committed to young people realising their potential and for many that is through the technical, hands-on learning that apprenticeships can offer.

“National Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity for Sunderland College to celebrate the many benefits of apprenticeships and our links with great local companies.  We’re delighted so many great employers were able to take the time out to help make this event possible.”

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