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Apprenticeships are just the start

The positive impact of apprenticeships on future skills, the economy and on the students themselves is being celebrated by Sunderland College during National Apprenticeship Week.

More than 670 students are currently enrolled on apprenticeship courses with the college, learning a variety of skills and trades.

Clark Blakemore, 20, from Sunderland, has just come to the end of a successful apprenticeship with Fusion Contact Centres and has now started full time work.

He said: “I had never considered a career in a contact centre but after speaking to the team at Fusion and Sunderland College I decided to give it a go. I haven’t looked back since.

“I really enjoyed it, I’ve learnt so much and have recommended it to a few of my friends who have now started their own apprenticeships.”

Clark started his apprenticeship in 2011 after struggling to find work in the construction industry.

During the two years of his apprenticeship he achieved record sales figures and remained the highest performer throughout the programme.

Clark has been impressed his employer so much that he has been selected by Fusion to become a mentor and help future trainees with their apprenticeships.

Dave Hall, director of work-based learning at Sunderland College, said: “Clark’s story is not unusual. Every year we help hundreds of people find quality apprenticeship opportunities in different sectors across the North East.

“For employers taking on an apprentice it can be a very rewarding experience and we can offer some expert advice to ensure everyone gets as much out of it as possible.”

Other successful apprenticeship collaborations include Sunderland College and social housing provider Gentoo, which created 27 new apprenticeships in 2012.

Apprenticeships on offer include; business and administration, cleaning and support services, customer service and building environment.

Alexander Austin and Abbey Brennan are two of the apprentices now at Gentoo.

Alexander has now started his intermediate apprenticeship in Business and Administration and hopes to move into a management position in the future.

Every day this week Sunderland College’s Hylton campus is giving employers, young people and parents the chance to find out more by meeting current apprentices, chatting to staff and seeing the range of apprenticeship programmes on offer at Sunderland College.

Businesses can also find out about what funding is available to them if their considering taking on an apprentice.

For more information call Sunderland College on 0191 511 6800 or email its apprenticeship team at apprenticeships@sunderlandcollege.ac.uk.

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