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Value of vocational qualifications celebrated

The positive impact of vocational qualifications on future skills, the economy and on the students themselves is being celebrated by Sunderland College on National Vocational Qualification Day.

The day recognises how vocational qualifications can change for the better the lives of students, teachers and employers.

More than 8,500 students are currently enrolled on vocational courses, including apprenticeships, 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’ve really enjoyed it, I’ve learnt so much and have even 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 and other vocational qualifications.

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 vocational learning opportunities in different sectors across the North East – many of them apprentices.

“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.”

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

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