Apprentices study for the world of work

Across the Sheffield City Region, employers are now becoming much more involved in the design and content of vocational courses.

Businesses were heavily involved in the creation of the new National College for High Speed Rail, which opened in September last year with bases in Doncaster and Birmingham. And at the new University Centre Rotherham, due to open this September, employers have also had significant input into the courses which have a keen focus on the world of careers and business.

So as young people celebrate the end of exams this Summer and wonder what choice to make for their futures, it’s good news that their options are more allied to the world of work and their future employment.

University Centre Rotherham is part of the RNN Group which has three colleges of further and higher education, and five training organisations educating school leavers, undergraduates, employees and people returning to work. When the Centre’s purpose-built campus opens its doors to students in September, they will enrol on a range of courses which have all been designed with employment, as well as learning, in mind.

Students will meet employers and businesses and have real work experiences as they study. The lecturers all have industry backgrounds and are experts in their fields, while timetables are designed to fit around work, home and lifestyle commitments. And they will have the chance to work ‘hands-on’ with the futuristic technologies of hybrid and electric vehicles thanks to an £185,000 grant from the Sheffield City Region.

Another option young people might want to consider when they emerge from the exam room is an apprenticeship. Business leaders are becoming much more aware of the benefits of employing apprentices, and the apprenticeship levy has expanded the number of openings available. The attraction of earning while learning is strong for many young people, and helps keep down student debt.

So another important event this Autumn is the launch of the National Centre for Excellence for Degree Apprenticeships at Sheffield Hallam University. This has been supported with £500,000 grant funding from the Sheffield City Region to provide bespoke teaching space and IT equipment for hundreds of learners on degree apprenticeships.

Sheffield Hallam works with renowned organisations such as Nestle, JCB, Horbury Group and Henry Boot, and the degree apprenticeships have been developed in subject areas identified as important to the future success of the economy including management, healthcare, construction, engineering and computing.

For further information about how apprenticeships can help a business, see here.

Employers also connect with the AMRC Training Centre, part of the University of Sheffield AMRC Group, which provides training in the practical and academic skills that engineering and manufacturing companies need to compete globally, from apprenticeship through to higher education.

The AMRC Centre equips qualified employees with a tailored set of skills and hands-on experience by utilising and providing access to state-of-the-art machinery and technology, and a potential career in some of the world’s most innovative industries.

And in Chesterfield the University of Derby St Helena campus is educating the workforce of the future in nursing, health, business, computing, law and engineering. The campus will have strong links with the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers and will provide local engineering companies with resources for research and innovation. The local business community will also have the use of dedicated incubator units.

Other grants made by the Sheffield City Region to improve much needed skills in science, technology, engineering and maths are:

  • Chesterfield College: £243,00 to develop a digital skills hub which will teach software, games, networking and hardware development. Over 10 years this is estimated to provide a £38million boost to the economy.
  • The National Fluid Power Centre, Worksop, £132,500 for equipment which will provide in-depth training on the advanced integrated systems used in industry
  • The Sheffield College, £154,700 for specialist equipment to teach higher level skills in the construction industry.

For further information about any business support opportunities including apprenticeship programmes in the Sheffield City Region please contact the Growth Hub in the first instance:

03330 00 00 39