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Judith Cummins MP meets rising stars of apprenticeships

The power of apprenticeships to shape careers and transform lives was showcased when MP Judith Cummins met young people and employers benefitting from the programmes with Bradford College.

The Bradford South MP visited students across the city during a week of special events held by the college to highlight National Apprenticeship Week.

Asa Gordon, Assistant Principal, Bradford College, said: “We are very proud of our apprentices and the visits gave us the chance to highlight the benefits they bring to employers in the region. Furthermore, we saw the powerful impact that their training is having on their lives, giving them self-belief as well as the work-based qualifications and training they need to build their careers.

“We work closely with a wide range of employers in various sectors to shape our apprenticeship provision. These partnerships help us meet the skills needs of the employer and those of the city as a whole.”

First, Judith visited the Sedbergh Community Centre in Manchester Road, where she met Business Administration apprentice Amy Leith.

Amy explained that among her tasks at Sports Works Yorkshire, an organisation which uses sport to develop programmes aimed at improving education and mental and physical health standards in the community, was to use social media to boost its profile.

Before she began her apprenticeship, Amy was studying A-levels in maths and sciences. However, while naturally bright and academic, she said she didn’t believe the course was right for her and instead chose to study an apprenticeship. She said: “It’s great that you can learn and get more hands-on experience while you’re in an apprenticeship, and you’re getting paid.”

Simon Leonard, Managing Director of Sports Works Yorkshire, said: “Amy joined us in December and she’s been a breath of fresh air, she’s been fantastic.”

Judith’s next visit was to mechanical and building services organisation Mitton Group, where she met Business Administration apprentices Ella-May Appleyard and Lucy Feather. Ella-May, who began her placement with Mitton Group after contacting Head of HR Daniel Keenan to see if there were opportunities with the company, discussed how her apprenticeship had increased her confidence. She said: “I used to hate picking up phones, now they’re not a problem. I like meeting new people.

“I like everything about my apprenticeship, really. You get to learn a bit more about yourself, how to find your feet in the world and a bit more about life in a way that you don’t at school.”

Finally, Judith visited Saaiba Talib, a level 2 apprentice in childcare working at The Life Nursery in Bierley House Avenue. When Judith asked her what made her choose an apprenticeship, Saaiba said: “I have always loved working with children, and when I came out of high school I decided, instead of A-levels, to go right into work and start an apprenticeship.

“It’s opening lots of new doors for me.”

Her employer, Louise Gray, said: “She is amazing. Interviewing her, I knew straight away she had potential, she had dedication and did very well in her interview.

“She answered questions above and beyond what was expected of her. I could tell she wanted this opportunity. I’ve so much time for her.”

She saw the apprenticeship as another positive step forward for the nursery, which was awarded Outstanding status in October 2019 by Ofsted.

The visit was one of a number of events held by Bradford College and its apprenticeship arm, City Training Services, to raise the profile of apprenticeships as a great path for people at any stage of their career.

Judith said: “It has been inspiring to meet apprentices and see the really positive contribution they make to local business in Bradford. Apprenticeships give young people the opportunity to hit the ground running and learn while getting on-the-job experience. It’s clear employers value the enthusiasm and new ideas their apprentices bring and young people build valuable skills to last them a lifetime.”

Apprenticeships are tailored around the needs of employers so apprentices will gain invaluable experience and develop skills that employers within that industry really want. The College has links with fantastic employers across a range of different industries and trades.

Apprentices mostly learn through ‘on-the-job’ training, working within their chosen trade, getting hands-on training from their employer and providing skills to last a lifetime. As well as work experience, apprentices usually one day ‘off the job’ training in the college.

More information about apprenticeships, and CTS, is available on the Bradford College website.