The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London hosted a business breakfast this morning (7 March) for both large and SME employers as part of Apprenticeship Week, at the Colleges’ Enfield Centre. Delegates attended from AGS, Work Work ltd, Volker Fitzpatrick, Trade Kit, Berkley Homes, Olmec, Enfield Council and the University of Roehampton.
The aim of the event was to engage with employers that are both working with the College to provide apprenticeship opportunities and those that are not, illustrating the benefits to employers, the recruitment process and how CONEL endeavours to support businesses.
Director of Employability & Employer Engagement, Jackie Chapman said, "The purpose of today is to celebrate National Apprenticeships Week with employers and to help them navigate changes which are about to come into force, including the Apprenticeship Levy and the introduction of Standards. We're pleased we've had so much interest in the event. It's given us the opportunity to open up conversations and understand the employability and training needs of the different industries and how that can lead to increased opportunities for our students."
Councillor Alan Sitkin, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration & Business Development at Enfield Council also attended the event and spoke on the £6bn Meridian Water project, a regeneration scheme in North London which is part of several building initiatives in the area under the umbrella scheme #buildenfield, which will have a major impact on employment in the area. He went on to explain that Brexit will inevitably result in less reliance on Europe more training and recruitment of young people in local areas and that there will be a need to employ around 10,000 people in the borough in the coming years to complete the Meridian Water project.
Stav Aristokle Hill, Apprenticeship Programme Manager at Berkeley Designed for Life, who currently employ ten CONEL apprentices, presented on their experiences of apprenticeships and working with CONEL. She said, "We currently employ around ten CONEL apprentices but we are looking to increase this to around 30-40 this September and will be starting the recruitment process shortly. Our business is unique in that we buy land, do the design work, build and then sell it on ourselves. It's easier to recruit for the traditional roles in construction but there is a skills gap in the areas people don't know about as much such as formwork or steel fixing. The College have been really helpful. I have one point of contact and I know any issues that arise will get dealt with. I also have monthly meetings with the Head of Apprenticeships and the Head of Construction. The College has been really helpful in accommodating what we need specifically as a company."
Volker Fitzpatrick is one of the UK's leading engineering and construction companies, providing specialist building, rail, civil engineering and industry focussed skills to a range of market sectors. Workplace Coordinator, Bobbette Watson, who formerly worked for the College as and ESOL tutor, attended the event and said, "We have opportunities for apprenticeships particularly in construction and business administration. I'm here today because the College has a good reputation and we are looking to work with them to increase the number of apprentices we have."
Gary Bosher at Work Work limited, one of the leading providers of environmental solutions in the UK said, "Our company has grown quickly in the past 10 years and we now want to grow our team organically from within rather than buying in experience. We are planning for the future and recruitment costs are high. At the moment we don't have any apprentices at all. I'd like to understand, how it all works, the processes and how we can implement it in our organisation. We are looking for everything from Boiler Installers to Installation Engineers. We work with a range of clients from MPs to council estates and we are looking for apprentices with a good, professional personality that can relate to everyone and put them at ease. Attitude is everything."
Steve Hammond from Anderson Group, a construction company which specialises in problematic building sites attended the event and said "We currently have around ten apprentices on an 18 month rolling programme and we are looking to increase the number of applicants next year. As a company we want to help promote the construction industry and know how we can upskill the community."