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Learners who have enrolled onto construction courses at Derby College this September will have the chance to join a wide range of Employer Academies to give them valuable work experience and boost their job prospects and address skills shortages in key industries.
Derby College has joined forces with several local companies to launch an innovative range of Employer Academies.
Students enrolling on full-time Engineering, Business, Construction, Sports, Hospitality and Professional Cookery will have the chance to then be interviewed by the local employers involved and join an Academy programme.
Students will benefit from regular work experience at the businesses, take part in master classes and special projects, gain paid part time work in some cases and all students will have a guaranteed interview at the end of the course for a job or apprenticeship at the companies.
The latest Employer Academy to be announced is the Atlas Building and Groundworks Academy in conjunction with Derby-based Atlas Building and Civil Engineering.
This joins the existing Employer Academy programme:
- Cricket Derbyshire Hospitality Academy: which also provides Catering and Hospitality students at the College with potential for paid part time work
- Cricket Derbyshire Sports Academy: based at Derbyshire County Cricket Club – providing training and work experience opportunities for Sports students
- Derby Telegraph Media Sales Academy: giving Business students a unique insight into the demanding world of media sales
- epm:technology Advanced Composites Academy: introducing Engineering students to the rapidly expanding advanced composites manufacturing industry
- Huub Marketing and Product Development Academy: enabling Business students to be involved in Huub which is a growing company designing triathlon wetsuits for international markets
- The Finesse Collection Professional Cookery Academy: with Catering and Hospitality students working alongside top chefs at the Cathedral Quarter Hotel, Donington Manor Hotel and at the host of events handled by the company’s outdoor catering division – Finesse Hospitality.
Atlas already works with Derby College to recruit and train apprentices. The company currently employs four bricklaying apprentices and 12 more are due to join on a new groundworks apprenticeship programme in the coming weeks.
Atlas, which was founded 17 years ago, undertakes a wide range of building, groundworks and civil engineering projects ranging from infrastructure for housing and drainage through to building roads and skateboard parks.
Employing 58 people directly, it also has 18 subcontractors on its books and covers a geographic area which extends from the East Midlands to Sheffield in the north and Peterborough in the east.
Director Wayne Foster, who started out in the construction industry as a ‘chain lad’, said: “Groundworks is the unseen side of construction and we specialise in preparing sites for building work – putting the infrastructure in place for others to develop onwards.
“We have developed a bespoke groundworks apprenticeship programme in partnership with Derby College.
“This is vital to help us to grow our business and making sure we avoid skills gaps by training the workforce of the future who will replace our experienced employees as they reach retirement age.
“Launching the Academy with Derby College takes that commitment a stage further as it will give the Construction students an even greater insight into the company, raise the profile of groundworks construction as a career and hopefully lead to many of them joining us as apprentices at the end of their course.
“Training takes around four years as there is so much involved and being part of the Academy will give these students a head start as we plan to put them through the initial health and safety training that they need to then work on site as an apprentice.
“We will be looking for the same qualities in the Academy students as we do with our apprentices – including enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.
“We pay our apprentices more than the going rate as we do not regard them as ‘cheap labour’. In return, we expect them to put in a good day’s work. They must really want to do the job and be able to work in a team.
“We have those qualities in our current apprentices and it’s good to see them progress through the firm and be part of our growing business.”
Fellow Director Jamie Lord added: “By working with the College, we hope to have a group of youngsters who are ready to be taken on as apprentices with the skills and attitudes that we need on site.
“This is a multi- skilled and well paid job and we need young people coming through now to ensure that we have the workforce in place to grow our business in the future.”
Derby College Business Development Director April Hayhurst added: “We now have eight Employer Academies in place which all provide exciting opportunities for students enrolling this September on Business, Construction, Sport, Hospitality, Professional Cookery and Engineering programmes at the College.
“All of these vocations have been identified by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership as growth areas with potential future skills shortages and the Employer Academies therefore address this in a new and innovative way.
“Business leaders’ quite rightly highlight that they need young people to be better prepared for the workplace.
“The work experience that students will gain as part of their courses will help to develop the personal skills and attitudes that employers are looking for and will help to shape young people’s career aspirations.”
For more information about the Academy programme, visit www.derby-college.ac.uk or call 0800 028 0289.