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Pre-Apprenticeship Course Boosts Job Opportunities

  • Date: 11/02/2013
  • Category: General

Derby College has launched a new employability programme as part of its recruitment service to match employers’ apprenticeship vacancies with young people’s skills and aspirations.

Young people who apply for positions on the National Apprenticeship Service website or who contact Derby College for support in finding an apprenticeship are interviewed and assessed by the team before putting them forward for vacancies.

They are also offered a week-long employability skills course at College covering problem solving, team work, job application and interview techniques, health and safety and first aid skills.

Derby College Head of Employer Engagement April Hayhurst explained that the programme was already reaping results for young applicants by improving their chances of securing an apprenticeship, and for employers who can better assess whether the young people would benefit their organisation.

April said: “Since launching the Apprenticeship Recruitment Service earlier this year we have worked with employers in a wide range of sectors including business, healthcare, IT, engineering, beauty therapy, sport, hospitality and animal care.

“This is a win-win situation.  Young people stand a much better chance of getting an apprenticeship due to the preparation work that we do with them and the fact that we have already worked closely with the business to understand their needs.

“The service reduces the time and costs for businesses who wish to recruit an apprentice – providing them with a shortlist of screen and, where needed, pre-trained young people through the employability skills programme.

“This preliminary work with the apprenticeship applicants helps them to settle in to the workplace much more quickly and then make a positive contribution to their workforce through a structured skills training programme.

Among the young people who have benefited from the employability skills course are a group of eight apprentices who have recently started work at Derbyshire Constabulary in a wide range of administrative roles.

Derbyshire Constabulary joined forces with Derby College to recruit its first civilian apprentices. The posts were advertised by the College on the National Apprenticeship Service website who then interviewed and assessed applicants.

Candidate details were then forwarded to Derbyshire Constabulary’s HR team who conducted interviews and assessments before the final eight were appointed on a 12-month apprenticeship programme – supporting a wide range of divisions from forensics and crime support to professional standards and business programme change.

Derbyshire Constabulary’s head of manager services Sheila Donscha explained: “The apprenticeship programme is being piloted this year as part of the Constabulary’s commitment to supporting young people into work.

“We decided to work with Derby College as they were able to provide the recruitment service, offer the additional support through the employability skills course and then provide the on-going training as part of the business administration apprenticeship.

“The employability skills course was particularly useful as the applicants came to us for interview with better knowledge about the organisation and our requirements than they would otherwise have had and we were very impressed with the calibre of the applicants.

“The feedback from the apprentices and their line managers has been very positive and, even if we are not in a position to offer longer term contracts at the end of the programme, these young people will have the work experience and additional vocational qualifications to hold them in good stead for securing jobs in the future.”

Among the apprentices at Derbyshire Police is Aron Palmer (16) has joined straight from school.  He said: “It was very useful to have the employability skills course before coming for the interview as I felt much more prepared for the kind of questions I would be asked.”

Fellow apprentice Collette Bamford (18), who finished her A levels this summer, also applied for the position through the NAS website and completed the employability skills course.

“I hadn’t realised just how many different roles there were in the Police and working in the Crime Support division is fascinating.”

Apprenticeship hopefuls at the College include Darryl Philpott (21) from Chaddesden who is applying for a number of roles in businesses and the leisure industry.

The former Derby College Sports student said: “It has been really useful learning more about what is expected of us in the workplace and getting interview practice.  I really hope that this improves my chances of getting an apprenticeship and will show employers that I am really serious about getting this opportunity.”

Jordan Rhule (22) from Mickleover is hoping to secure a teaching assistant apprenticeship after volunteering at a school in Peru as part of the International Citizen Service.

He said: “There are so many applicants for apprenticeship positions that it is important to make the right impression first time.  We have had help in how to apply for apprenticeships as well as interview practice and to improve our communication skills.

“I hope that this course will help me to stand out from the crowd and secure an apprenticeship in the near future.”

For more information about apprenticeship vacancies and the recruitment service for employers, contact Derby College, Tel: 0800 028 0289


Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, PR Officer, Derby College, Tel: 07951 945 665;

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