College named among ‘best of the best’ apprenticeship providers

Telford College has been showcased at a parliamentary reception to celebrate the ‘best of the best’ apprenticeship providers across the country.

The college is one of just two finalists in the Construction Apprenticeship Provider of the Year category of the 2019 FE Week and AELP AAC Apprenticeship Awards.

The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony during the annual Apprenticeship Conference gala dinner at the ICC in Birmingham later this month.

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Darren Wilson, the college’s interim director of employer engagement and apprenticeships, and civil engineering and construction tutor Jeff Fletcher, represented the college at the reception, held at the Houses of Parliament.

Around 150 people packed into the Terrace Pavilion for the event, which coincided with National Apprenticeship Week. It was sponsored by the chair of the education select committee, Robert Halfon.

Addressing the finalists, who all received commemorative certificates, Mr Halfon said: “All the award nominees are change makers, so thank you to all the providers and organisations who are here today.”

‘We’ve got the best of the best here’

Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, which co-runs the awards with FE Week, added: “We’ve got the best of the best here when it comes to apprenticeships.”

In its application, Telford College highlighted its successful ‘Careers In Construction’ event, which was run in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board in response to growing concerns about the skills gap in the region.

Apprentices were given the chance to showcase their talents to hundreds of employers and visitors, and the CITB said it was keen to repeat the event.

The college is also an active member of the Shropshire Constructing Excellence group, working with the business community on developing training packages to help make the industry more appealing for young people.

In its application, the college said: “We have a new network of mentors from the Shropshire business community who are helping us to shape our training programmes for the fast-changing needs of employers, which includes embracing the latest hi-tech methods of learning.”

Watch Darren and Jeff’s live video from the Houses of Parliament

Apprenticeship award | Telford College
Apprenticeship award | Telford College

Telford College’s construction apprentices now have access to industry-leading facilities on campus, including a newly opened virtual and augmented reality suite, which is changing the face of learning. It has been described as ‘truly market leading’ by acclaimed VR provider, EON Reality.

A virtual reality ‘cave’ can transport apprentices into learning or working environments anywhere in the world, recreating a building site, or construction task.

Working closely with civil engineering company McPhillips, Telford College has also created a 600 square metre construction industry training area at the Haybridge campus, specially designed to give students chance to hone their skills in areas such as drainage, road and footpath construction, kerb laying, surfacing, and paving.

Telford College principal Graham Guest said: “We are immensely proud of our construction industry apprenticeships programmes.

“They are not simply pulled off the shelf – they are created by working closely with senior management teams at employers, to ensure that everyone, from the apprentice to the manager, and the college, has a clear vision of what needs to be achieved.

“We spend a great deal of time with both employers, and prospective apprentices, to ensure there is a real and sensible synergy between the personalities of the people, and compatibility with the tasks they will be expected to perform.

“And possibly most importantly of all, Telford College’s apprenticeships team is made up of people with wide-ranging experience of working in industry and commerce . . . they’ve been there and done it, and know first-hand the sort of practical, financial and emotional challenges involved.”

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