31st January 2020
I’ve been reminded by the team here at InterLearn that #NationalApprenticeshipWeek is ‘just around the corner’ for about the last six months now! To say they are excited by the prospect of celebrating #apprenticeships and the difference they make to learners and employers is quite the understatement. Well here we are mere days away and I need no reminding. As someone who has worked in the sector for more years than I care to share, #NAW has always had a special place on my work calendar. For me, it’s a time to reflect, to celebrate the here and now and to look forward, a bit like the three ghosts of Christmas, though I like to view it as the three faces of the ever-changing world of #vocationallearning. With that in mind, I thought I’d write my first blog around just that – my reflections, our planned celebrations and looking forward (beyond?).
I first started in the apprenticeship sector running my own business, Orient Gold. Then, the ESFA was the LSC and there was no IFATE or EPAO. However, one thing was as prevalent then as it is now and that is the importance of apprenticeships on the lives of our learners. At Orient Gold we delivered butchery apprenticeships, and still do here at InterLearn. Seeing the pictures recently of #butchery apprentices at Do & Co receiving their #functionalskills certificates brought that clearly home to me; the industry may change its acronyms as many times as it likes, but good old achievement is what matters.
As well as butchery, and indeed two of the most successful apprenticeships we offer at InterLearn, are the Level 3 #traindriving and Level 2 #conductor apprenticeships for Southeastern Rail. So far we have delivered the first apprenticeships for both roles under the new standard, and next Friday sees us celebrating a further 70 apprentices collecting their certificates at a ceremony in London. It’s rewarding to have an employer so on board (pardon the pun) with the development of its employees, and the buy-in of Southeastern, from the MD through to all its L&D team, makes it a great partnership to be part of.
So what next for both us at InterLearn and the sector as a whole? Well, I don’t have a crystal ball, but as we are on the brink of leaving the EU, and regardless of one’s point of view, it naturally makes me think of some of the amazing programmes we have run through European Social Funds. Our current delivery in Worcestershire funded this way is Skills Support for the Unemployed, providing much needed employability and sector-specific training to unemployed people across the county. The latest programme we’re running under this banner is Personal Development for Employability along with an award in Health & Safety in a construction environment, with a CSCS card at the end of it. This programme will ultimately see those taking part in it move onto an apprenticeship, traineeship, FE or full-time employment. For me this is a great example of #lookbeyond, with representation from a diverse group of people on the courses, who can then progress into the world of apprenticeships regardless of their background. I’m looking forward to those particular outcomes and celebrating with each cohort.
With only the weekend between us and #NAW2020, it just leaves me to wish you all a great week of events and celebrations ahead. However you’re getting involved, let’s hope it #firesup the conversations about how great #apprenticeships can be – for everyone.
Matt Corden, CEO InterLearn.
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