Apprenticeship excellence recognised for Northumberland

Northumberland County Council has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Regional Employer of the Year in the National Apprenticeship Awards 2018.
 
Finalists from a wide range of industries and occupations are progressing to the next stage of the awards - which showcase the diverse and growing range of sectors engaged with apprenticeships, whilst celebrating outstanding apprentices, employers and individuals who go above and beyond to champion apprenticeships across England.
 
The awards are open to apprentices, individuals who promote apprenticeships and employers of all sizes from all sectors. Those shortlisted are apprenticeship exemplars, highlighting best practice across recruitment excellence, high quality training practices, diversity and career progression.
 
Northumberland has recruited more than 2,000 apprentices across the county council, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust and council maintained schools.   Over recent years it has developed a clear and ambitious strategy to invest in attracting talent to the organisation and has committed £1m per annum for three years to support wages.
 
The programme has a great success rate, at least 20% above national rates and with 91% of apprentices progressing to higher level apprenticeships or full employment in the council.
 
Success has been down to a multi-pronged approach to recruitment including a strongly promoted campaign called ‘We’re Making it Work’ as well as a programme for vulnerable young people where supported roles are created in the council and local small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to give them a headstart.  New mentoring and counselling teams also provide pastoral support for apprentices, to ensure success.
 
A team of 40 ambassadors represent a cross-section of apprentices and they actively promote the programme through activities such as career fairs, pop-up events, networking events and work-related learning in schools.
 
Deputy Council Leader Wayne Daley, who is also Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:  "Apprenticeships are incredibly valuable to the council and to businesses in Northumberland. We support hundreds of apprentices each year and they play a valuable role in the work that we do.
 
“It's great to see the team getting recognition at a regional level and we hope through to the national finals. They do a wonderful job with our apprenticeship programme and the results speak for themselves; the team should be very proud of all that they are achieving".
 
Northumberland is one of only five employers in the North East to be shortlisted, and success in the regional awards will see the council nominated forward to the Nationals.  Regional winners to be announced on 11 September.
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