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Oldham College is ‘Number One’ for Apprenticeship Achievement amongst Greater Manchester’s FE colleges

BEST GM COLLEGE | Elle Hopwood (Digital Recruitment Apprentice) Alun Francis (Chief Executive and Principal) and Saad Gul (Business Administration Apprentice) launching Oldham College’s ‘Find Tomorrow’s Talent Today’ campaign. (Date: May 18, 2023)

OLDHAM College is calling on more employers to take advantage of its’ expertise after being officially confirmed as the ‘Number One’ FE college in Greater Manchester for Apprenticeship Achievement.

It is launching a ‘Find Tomorrow’s Talent Today’ campaign asking local businesses to consider creating recruiting more apprentices after new Department for Education (DfE) data showed how its’ high-quality candidates are bucking national trends*.

Oldham College’s apprentice achievement – the proportion of leavers successfully passing the whole framework or standard – was 67.6 per cent in 2021/22.

This key indicator is more than 14 per cent above the national average (which fell 4.3 per cent to 53.4 per cent) and ranks first amongst all FE colleges across the Greater Manchester city region.

A new Job Shop facility on campus is the base for an Oldham College team already partnering with more than 500 employers on intermediate, advanced and higher-level apprenticeships – but many more career openings are urgently needed for local people.

Apprentice numbers haven’t recovered nationally since the pandemic which means there are now dozens of pre-assessed ‘work ready’ and skilled candidates waiting for an opportunity – especially in the business and administration, construction, digital, hair and beauty sectors – and with hundreds more school leavers set to join them this summer.

Alun Francis, Oldham College Principal and Chief Executive, said:

“It’s tremendous to see our apprenticeship achievement surpassing the national average – and ranked as the best across Greater Manchester’s FE colleges – but the demand from people to access these opportunities is outstripping the supply of places.”

“We’re launching ‘Find Tomorrow’s Talent Today’ to find more partner employers and connect them to people with the skills they need now and in the future.

“Our apprentices get a life-changing opportunity of hands-on experience leading to industry-recognised qualifications, but businesses and the local economy benefit just as significantly from the injection of extra productivity, new insights and skills that can give them the edge in a cost-effective way.

“Alongside our proven high standards, we assist employers of all sizes with clear guidance in recruiting the right candidate and tailoring their training to your needs.

“If you’re a firm that pays the Apprenticeship Levy, you should be using it to the full as part of your long-term growth strategy to upskill and develop existing staff for succession planning, rather than miss out on investing it** – and if you’re a smaller business, the cap on apprentice numbers has just been scrapped, so you can take more on.

“That’s why we’re encouraging all employers, especially those who haven’t considered apprentices before, to find out how to boost business, upskill your current staff and get access to a pipeline of the best future talent. There is nothing to lose from talking to us – and everything to gain from our expertise.”

Learners at Oldham College get a career advantage through its status as a WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence which sees them participating in real-world competitions with the chance to compete at national and international level by achieving the highest standards that employers need.

Oldham College’s Apprenticeships programme has also just received an ‘Excellence in End-Point Assessment (EPA) Award’ from City & Guilds thanks to a 90 per cent first-time pass rate, with 43 per cent of students achieving distinctions, plus positive feedback from apprentices and their employers.

Anyone wanting to learn more about taking on an apprentice should visit the Employers section on the Oldham College website, email [email protected] or call 0161 785 4330.

A free business breakfast event is taking place on Tuesday, May 23 for employers across all industry sectors to network and meet specialists to discuss apprenticeships, T Levels and work placements, upskilling your workforce and more. You can pre-register online now at the Oldham College website.

* Apprenticeship Achievement data released in March 2023. Source: DfE

** Just 4 per cent of Levy-paying employers have used their full levy funding ion the last five years. Source: City & Guilds

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