Dorset apprenticeships defy national statistics

The Clocktower at the Landsdowne site of the College Credit Paul GillettThe Clocktower at the Landsdowne site of the College Photo: Paul Gillett

Apprenticeships in Dorset are defying the damning verdict of Ofsted’s national report into work-scheme courses released last month.

The report showed concern that low-skill courses were undervaluing the brand of apprenticeships. However, Bournemouth and Poole College were quick to dismiss this on a local level.

Tony Basham, director of Employability and Apprenticeships at the college said,

‘Our apprenticeships are based on employer demand, job growth and local priority sectors, which is why we are growing digital apprenticeships in response to skills gaps in Dorset.’

Additionally, the college provides employability training and support to help apprentices both through the initial application and interview and throughout the program.

JP Morgan in Bournemouth accepted 36 apprentices this year, with the promise of a job upon completion of the course, according to Pete May, a second year technical finance apprentice.

Mr May said, ‘It’s great that I have the opportunity to earn an IOC certificate part-time by taking exams alongside my work obligations.’

Redweb, a Digital Agency based in central Bournemouth, are delighted with the results of their apprenticeship scheme. The company is now into its second year of partnership with Bournemouth & Poole College and aims to deliver high quality practical courses.

Rich Maidment, the Talent Manager, said,

‘The positives of the scheme for Redweb are not financial. We get to invest in young, local people and help them develop alongside our culture and clients.’

Mr Maidment added, ‘for every apprentice we take on, there is a potential permanent position at the end. They get exposure to areas of a digital project that the students would not receive in other schemes, from coding to client interaction.’

Not all apprenticeships ensure employment though. Upon completing her apprenticeship at Soda and Beauty blow dry bar, Jade Gooding will have to rent a desk at the salon.

Miss Gooding said, ‘Everyone is self-employed there, so there is no job guarantee, but I knew that would be the case when I took the apprenticeship.’

There are also those who did apprenticeships but did not continue in the chosen field of study.

‘I chose engineering, as it was an area I was really interested in,’ said David Speed. ‘I did my course at Paragon, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I didn’t go into engineering as a vocation, because I was sure I would join the army.’

Mr Speed added, ‘The apprenticeship taught me a lot of work ethics at a young age which was very useful to help me mature.’

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