Apprentices of the future: National Skills Academy launched at Alconbury Weald Enterprise Campus

07/03/2014

The future of apprenticeships in the local area is looking bright as a new Strategy was launched as part of National Apprenticeships Week today.

The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has unveiled its Apprenticeship Strategy as a part of the first ever Alconbury Employment Day held at Alconbury Weald Enterprise Campus by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Colleges Partnership.

The LEP Apprenticeship Strategy has three key ambitions:

1. Raise aspirations - For young people to be aware of the apprenticeship opportunities available in their local area and aspire to them;
2. Change opinions - For businesses to see apprenticeships as part of their business model;
3. Ready to respond - To gather the right information to allow the training sector to be prepared to meet demand.

At the same time, plans for a new National Skills Academy for Construction will be launched by Urban&Civic, owners and developers of Alconbury Weald.

Mark Cooper, Skills and Business Growth Lead at the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), explains: “Here at the LEP, we want our local business needs to drive skills supply at a local level, and apprenticeships are an important means by which we can achieve this goal.

“We recognise the importance of apprenticeships to training the next generation of skilled workers across a wide range of sectors. Therefore the decision by Urban&Civic to adopt a National Skills Academy for Construction at Alconbury is an early boost to the strategy, helping to ensure that many of the new construction jobs will be filled by local apprentices.”

Looking ahead, the delivery of a National Skills Academy for Construction will offer local people the opportunity to access a new career thanks to Alconbury Weald. The approach has been developed by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) with the construction industry and ensures contractors take on commitments to support training – including apprenticeships - up-skilling and job creation both for their company and through their chain of sub-contractors. Not only does this keep a fresh flow of skilled workers entering the profession, but also ensures that larger companies support their smaller sub-contractors.

Rebecca Britton, from Urban&Civic, said: "Skills are a part of the DNA of this development: whether that is about creating manufacturing jobs as companies come to the Enterprise Campus, or enabling future construction careers across the 20 or so years of design, planning, engineering and building out of  Alconbury Weald. We are proud to be leading the way in adopting the National Skills Academy for Construction approach.”

Catherine Bullough, from the CITB, added: “We’ve been working with Urban&Civic to secure Alconbury Weald as a client-led National Skills Academy – the first time a private company has taken on the responsibility, and the first Enterprise Zone to deliver jobs and skills in this way. This is the start of a huge partnership of support to get more people into the wide range of rewarding construction roles our economy needs.”

Both the LEP Apprenticeship Strategy and new National Skills Academy are being launched as a part of the Alconbury Employment Day. Designed to take up the challenge of addressing the skills gap and getting Britain working, training providers and employers are joining together for the very first Alconbury Employment Day. From across the region a large number of real, full-time jobs with nationally recognised qualification training as part of the package will be on offer for visitors to apply for.

Susanne Stent, Principal of Huntingdonshire Regional College, said: “It is great that Huntingdonshire, Cambridge and Peterborough Regional Colleges are all working together on this; alongside Urban&Civic and other businesses, the National Careers Service, local Job Centres, the LEP, the Skills Funding Agency, and Huntingdonshire District Council: all focussed on  getting people into apprenticeships and into employment. There will be a wide range of current and future job opportunities available on the day, with experts on hand to talk visitors through their options and match them up to real opportunities.”