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National Apprenticeship Week 2023: Celebrating the success of Sunderland Apprenticeships

An awards ceremony has shone a light on the personal and professional achievements apprentices and their employers have made across the region.

Hosted during National Apprenticeship Week 2023 (February 6-12), University of Sunderland, and MTC Training Awardsshowcased the work of employers and students on their apprenticeship programmes, workingin partnership to develop a highly-skilled workforce thriving into the future.

The awards took place at The Industry Centre, in Sunderland, where winners included Jordan Beaton, from Killingworth, who picked up the prize for ‘Rising Star’. An Engineering Practice Degree Apprentice, Jordan, has been working for 12 years in various roles, most recently as a Quality Technician for Bridon-Bekaert The Ropes Group (a global company which specialises in steel wire and synthetic ropes and cords solutions). But thanks to his apprenticeship broadening his skills and knowledge, he was promoted to a quality engineer a year earlier.

“I was able to progress quicker in my role thanks to my apprenticeship,” says Jordan. “To be presented with this award was a huge surprise, but I’m so chuffed. The University of Sunderland has been great, I’ve gone through online learning during the pandemic, as well as face-to-face learning, and the lecturers have been amazing and a great support through all those changes.”

Since launching eight years ago with just a handful of employers, the University and MTC apprenticeship portfolio has grown year on year. Now partnering with more than 100 organisations, the University is currently educating and training more than 800 apprentices who have signed up from Level 2 through to Level 7 apprenticeship programmes, across a range of sectors and job roles.

Apprenticeships are job-role specific and involve a range of work-based projects which allow learning to be applied directly into business. And, despite the impact of the pandemic, apprentices have continued making major contributions to the success of workplaces in areas such as health, technology, engineering, education and business leadership, helping employers adapt and grow.

Amanda Corbitt, Head of Commercial Training Services at the University of Sunderland, said: “The long-term success and growth of any business is reliant on its people. By equipping the right people with the right skills, businesses can create a future-proofed workforce to reach their goals. Apprenticeships are an invaluable tool for upskilling in areas that matter most to employers. They’re a highly effective route to recruit and train future talent, address skills shortages and develop careers across core parts of your business.

“Having worked with Apprentices for over 25 years, I have witnessed first-hand the value an apprentice brings – from micro/SME’s to large employers and public sector organisations.

“Our winners today are excellent examples of the positive impact an apprenticeship can have.”

There were eight awards, employers entered their apprentices, and apprentices could also nominate their organisations and mentors.

The winners included:

• Exceptional Growth – Craig Brown from Tyne Electro Diesel

• Rising Star – Jordan Beaton from Briden-Bekaert (The Ropes Group)

• Apprenticeship Champion – John Mulroy, North Tyneside Council, Social Worker Degree Apprentice

• Digital Innovator of the year – Matthew Graham from NHS Business Services Authority

• Health Care Professional of the year – Sarah Lane from Spire Healthcare

• Employer of the year – Cumbria, Northumberland Tyne and Wear Foundation Trust and Spire Healthcare (two winners)

•  Mentor of the year – Deb Roxby (Durham County Council) / Dr Sarah Pierce (Tees Esk and Wear Valley Easington)

• Outstanding achievement (Apprentices voted for by Trainer and Academics) – Daniel Mitchel –  Morrison Data Services (Team Leader Apprenticeship)

Apprenticeships are levy-funded if an organisation is a levy payer or, for smaller businesses, the Government contributes 95% towards the tuition fees. It’s an opportunity for employers to attract talent to their business, train staff and see a return on investment. Apprenticeships offered at Sunderland include the MBA Senior Leader, Learning and Skills Teacher, BEng Engineering Practice, BSc Digital and Technology Professional, MSc Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist, Digital Community Manager, BA Social Worker, MSc Advanced Clinical Practitioner, District Nurse, BSc Nurse, BSc Public Health Practitioner and BSc Healthcare Science.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2023 events, the University of Sunderland and MTC Training are also hosting a free masterclass event.

The masterclass offers a taster session across a suite of subjects such as leadership, coaching, digital and engineering, on Thursday (February 9).

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