The East Riding College column with principal and chief executive Mike Welsh

East Riding College's St Mary's Walk campus in Bridlington.
East Riding College's St Mary's Walk campus in Bridlington.

This week is National Apprenticeships Week and in the world of education and training, it is an opportunity to celebrate apprenticeships and how they benefit people, businesses, communities and our economy.

This national week of celebration prompts everyone passionate about apprenticeships to encourage more people to choose them as a fast-track to a great career.

Mike Welsh, principal and chief executive at East Riding College.

Mike Welsh, principal and chief executive at East Riding College.

The theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Apprenticeships Work’ and I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment.

Apprenticeships have the power to boost industry sectors and local economies.

Time and time again, employers report back to me the positive impact apprentices have on their business.

This can be by providing vital resources to help businesses grow, or adding new skills to a business’ expertise.

In the UK, almost half a million people started an apprenticeship in the last academic year alone, and there are over 23,000 vacancies listed every month.

But let’s get back to the fundamentals – what is an apprenticeship?

In a nutshell, it’s very simple - apprenticeships are a job with training included.

So when we talk about working towards an apprenticeship framework or standard, we mean just that – you’ll be working in a real job, at a real workplace, with a real boss, from day one.

You’ll be treated like any other employee, with a wage packet and holiday pay.

You’ll have applied for the job and usually you’ll have been interviewed by the college and the employer.

Apprenticeships aren’t a soft option, or not comparable to traditional A Levels or other advanced level study just because they’re work-based.

In a lot of cases, you can still progress from an apprenticeship onto a degree or a degree apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers, either. As long as you’re over 16, you can start an apprenticeship.

The choice of apprenticeship subjects is broader than ever, covering around 170 industries.

Employers are now more involved in their design too, meaning businesses get the skills they want, which makes apprentices very employable.

Often, on the job training means just that – working and learning at your employer’s premises, spending 100% of your time at your place of work.

Sometimes, part of your training will be delivered at a college or training provider, giving you time off the job to learn the theory or to brush up on the essential skills your employer needs.

You’ll get paid for the days you train as well as the days you work.

It’s a simple win-win.

Employers get people trained in the skills they want.

Apprentices get paid to work whilst they learn a trade or job role and get valuable experience.

Both the employer and the apprentice have the support of a college or training provider to guide them along the way, providing the training and assessment.

To find out more about apprenticeships or vacancies in the Bridlington area, call into our next open day at East Riding College, next week, on Thursday 15 March between 4pm and 7pm.