Gloucestershire's Apprenticeship Champions 2019

Seek and you will find

‘An apprentice is what you need – get yourself an apprentice’ your peers tell you, as you bemoan your firm’s skills gap, wonder how you can plan for the future or hang on to your best staff. All very well, but when you start down the path an apprentice suddenly feels as elusive as the dodo. Plus, you have a business to run – and not exactly blessed with an abundance of time to spend hunting for one. And when you do ask ‘okay then, where do I get an apprentice?’, suddenly the advice dries up. What you need is a one-stop shop where you can sit down, talk to people about your business, people who know about apprenticeships, who can advise on courses and – wait for it - can even introduce you to real life candidates. Welcome to Gloucestershire College. It has become a specialist at working closely with firms to ensure those apprentices get the relevant training - and it works hard to help businesses find the right candidates. Myra Billinghurst recently headed up the opening of the new Gloucestershire College Business School training venue at Llanthony Secunda Priory in Gloucester – set up for these very purposes after a £3.2m refurbishment.

It will also help you to train yourself, your managers or your senior staff in professionally-accredited qualifications. “Gloucestershire College has won a Beacon award for its apprenticeship training. Its Business Hub has worked with hundreds of businesses and their apprentices already. It is here to focus on real business needs,” said Ms Billinghurst, the college’s business development manager. “We review each learning programme once every 12 weeks. Our whole drive is about future-proofing the county’s future talent pool.” Ms Billinghurst added:“We are well aware it can feel like a minefield out there. But our business consultants can come and talk you through the process.” Andy Bates, chief financial officer at Gloucestershire College, said the Business Hub was all about delivering. “We have introduced a suite of new professionally accredited qualifications to our offering which are suitable for developing existing staff members as well as new recruits. “Much of our training can be delivered as an apprenticeship, meaning businesses can fund staff development using the apprenticeship levy or other available funding.” Ms Billinghurst said: “If you pay the levy, it can be used

Train your staff with a professional qual Build apprenticeship programmes f

34 | December 2018 | www. punchline-gloucester .com

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