From Monday 4 to Friday 8 March, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) celebrated the 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week with numerous internal and external events for students and employers with the highlight being a employer breakfast hosted by RuTC’s employer engagement team, Training Solutions.
Throughout the week, over 500 students received first-hand information from Training Solutions about what it is like to study and work at the same time with additional advice on the benefits of joining an apprenticeship programme offered by the employer Haymarket Media Group. Other activities during the week included exhibiting at Achieving for Children’s career fair World of Work at Harlequins, where the college organised activities including badge making and cookie decorating. RuTC’s Plumbing apprentices were given the opportunity to attend a training session at KAMCO, the original pioneers and current market leaders for power flushing and descaling pumps, giving them a competitive edge in their apprenticeship.
The employer breakfast was held on Thursday morning and attended by over 30 guests, representing regional and national companies, who were welcomed by Chief Executive and Principal, Robin Ghurbhurun and Head of Employer Engagement, Susan Pieterse. Susan said: “The staff of the college pulled together to make this year’s Apprenticeship Week a real success and have strengthened and increased links with many more students and important employers. National Apprenticeship Week 2019 gave prominence to apprenticeship programmes which are a vital career pathway for students and we are looking forward to continuously creating successful working partnerships.”
Guest speaker Gareth Pritchard, Head of Corporate Services at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION), shared his personal and professional experiences of taking on apprentices, and the support he received from the college throughout the process. He said: “With the positive impact of events like this, it would be great to see a shift in opinion which helps employers see that apprenticeships should be viewed not just as an alternative solution to university but an aspirational alternative.” Gareth stressed that, although hiring an apprentice requires real commitment of resource and patience, the benefits of gaining a loyal, ambitious and well-qualified employee are immeasurable.
Guest Ruth Cronk, HR Manager at Associated Air Services, said: “I have employed apprentices in the past and know it to be a fantastic scheme for both employer and apprentices so I am always keen to learn more. Now I know there is a dedicated team at Richmond upon Thames College I know where to go!”