East Croydon Cool talks…Apprenticeships

East Croydon Cool talks…is a blog series that explores topics of cultural interest via local area experts. The world of work has been given a pretty big shake up in recent years! The exact reasons behind 2021’s ‘Great Resignation’ (a year when workers quit their jobs at historic rates) are still being debated. Burnout, lack of childcare support, increased interest in self employment and the anti-work movement have all been cited.

Regardless of the reasons, there’s no doubt that a huge number of people are now re-thinking their career choices. One way to dip a toe into a new job, is through an Apprenticeship. And no – they’re not just for the kids anymore!

This week (7th to 11th February) is National Apprenticeship Week, and Croydon College has planned a range of talks, workshops and events to help educate Croydoners about the benefits of apprenticeships – both for people looking to switch up their career AND for local employers’ keen to take on new staff.

We spoke to Nicola Tarry, Head of ‘World to Work’ at Croydon College to find out more about the week and what they’ve got planned…

First off – we’ve got a bit lost with what’s Croydon College and what’s Croydon University?! Can you explain the structure of the organisations?
Croydon College is a Further Education College in the heart of East Croydon, delivering a mix of vocational courses from age 16 plus. Croydon University Centre is based within the Croydon College campus and has a niche offer including Access Courses, HNCs, BA’s and Higher Apprenticeships in a selection of subjects, including Nursing, Construction, Criminology, Psychology, Early Childhood Studies, Business Management, Public Health and Social Care.

What is National Apprenticeship Week
National Apprenticeship Week is UK wide initiative – it’s an opportunity to bring together businesses and apprentices to showcase the benefits that apprenticeships can bring to businesses and vice versa. NAW 2022 is the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships and the theme for 2022 is ‘build the future’; reflecting on how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and businesses to develop a talented workforce that is equipped with future-ready skills.

Who can sign up to do an apprenticeship and how do they work?
Apprenticeships are for anyone over the age of 16. You could be in employment and looking to upskill with the support of your employer, change your career, learn a new skill/trade, or a school leaver looking for a blended approach to learning and while earning. They are delivered in partnership with businesses supporting the work with one day release to the complete their study.

So they’re not just for young people starting out?!
No, not at all! They are for all ages – for example we have an apprentice who has had a successful career in construction, who is now upskilling in plumbing.

What have Croydon College got planned for the week?
Our ‘World of Work’ team are hosting a range of virtual events covering all you need to know about apprenticeships. Our events include An Introduction into Apprenticeships, Apprenticeship Vacancies: Meet the Employers, a dedicated event on Apprenticeships with the MET Police and Build your Business: Employ an Apprentice.

That’s a lot ! Tell us more about the Introduction into Apprenticeships talk
This is the perfect overview to the week and the general concept of apprenticeships. The one hour, online session will include info about the Kickstart Schemes, what blended learning actually means, the Earn While You Learn concept, the qualifications you can achieve, employability skills, progression opportunities, the support available and how to apply. Full info and link to sign up is HERE.

And tell us more about the ‘Meet the Employers’ day
Apprentices must apply for the job vacancy with specific employers and our Meet the Employer event is an opportunity to meet those employers directly to ask questions, find out what their needs are and discover what the next step are to get you interview ready. All employers attending the event have current vacancies they are looking to fill. During this event we will cover: Live Vacancies, Hear from apprentice employers, Employment progression, Meet employers and ask your questions, Hear case studies from apprentices, and cover the Application process. Full info and link to sign up is HERE.

And how does the MET Police apprenticeship day work?
This event is delivered in partnership with the MET Police, hosted by the College. This is a chance to find out about their apprenticeships offer, what the vetting process is, entry pathways, what will you learn, how to apply and the benefits of working for the MET Police. Full info and link to sign up is HERE.

How can people find out more about what apprenticeships are available?
Head to our website to view our current live vacancies HERE. There’s a huge range available including apprenticeships in Digital Marketing, HR, Plumbing and Teaching.

How can I find out more about apprenticeships and how can the college help grow my business?
At Croydon College we have a World of Work team dedicated to supporting apprenticeships, work placements and distance learning, which can benefit your business by developing your existing staff mentoring and management skills, improving your recruitment pipeline, giving opportunities to students in your local community and bring in creative, new and imaginative ideas to your company. To discuss your requirements furthers please contact Nicola.tarry@croydon.ac.uk.

For more information, head to the Croydon Apprenticeship Week page on the Croydon College website HERE.

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