From education to employment

SERC Set to Open Doors for Apprentices

South Eastern Regional College staff socially distancing

South Eastern Regional College (@S_ERC) will receive funding through the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund for two new projects that will support new and innovative approaches to the development, recruitment and delivery of apprenticeships. The Challenge Fund is part of the Department for the Economy’s Apprenticeship Recovery Package for Northern Ireland which channels financial support to help the apprenticeship system respond to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

William Greer, Chief Training and Contracts Officer at SERC said, “We are delighted to have successfully secured funding for two new projects which recognise the importance that apprenticeships will play in our economic recovery.

SERC will be working in partnership with H & J Martin and the Automatic Door Suppliers Association to develop new apprenticeships for the Automated Entrances Industry. William said, “With the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a greater focus on hygiene and the automatic doors industry is experiencing growth. The Automatic Door, Industrial Door, and Automatic Gate Industries in Northern Ireland require new skilled entrants to facilitate this growth and currently there is no provision for training which meet these bespoke needs. Our proposal will explore a framework and pathway for apprenticeships at Level 2 and Level 3, and once approved, it will be available to learners and employers to support this specialised industry.

SERC will also take the lead for the Apprentice Mentoring Project, also financed under the Challenge Fund, working in partnership all six FE Colleges across NI. William added, “We will be working together to devise an employer mentoring programme to equip the managers of apprentices with the skills they need to effectively support and develop apprentices and apprenticeship programmes. An online module will certify employers as a trained Apprentice mentor. The resources produced will also help employers to better understand the structure of Apprenticeship NI and Higher-Level Apprenticeship programmes with the strategic objective of increasing participation.”

He continued, “The workplace can be a daunting place for new apprentices and the project will improve their experience of going to work for the first time, confident that someone is looking out for them in the workplace. The overall objective is to ensure that apprentices feel more valued and are better supported and to stay on track and achieve their qualifications.”

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