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College helps to blaze a trail for careers and apprenticeships

Higher apprenticeship students in Furness College’s Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Centre

Furness College is taking part in two national events next week – National Careers Week and National Apprenticeships Week (March 4-8).

The college has organised a series of activities to celebrate the work it does to support people across both its campuses to achieve their career goals and apprenticeship aspirations.

For National Careers Week, there will be talks from the National Citizen Service, Inspira careers service on apprenticeships, interview workshops, and talks on specialist health career paths. This will be followed up with an introduction to higher education, which is also offered at the Channelside campus.

Furness College Student Services Manager and Careers Leader Sarah Carter

Sarah Carter, who is the Student Services Manager and Careers Leader, said the college offers a comprehensive careers programme to help guide students at Channelside and Rating Lane sixth form.

“It is so important to listen to our students’ aspirations and help them achieve that dream job. Our courses are linked to employment skills and knowledge but, in addition to what is learnt in the classroom, the student services team works with our students to ensure they develop self and opportunity awareness.  Personal strengths will be identified and these can then be highlighted in the application process, and where there are weaknesses or gaps then the team can support this development.  Current and forecasted labour market information is also vital to enable important decision-making in careers.

“Our personal progress coaches give impartial information each week at progress group sessions and help students set their own targets to work towards the career they want.

“As part of National Careers Week, we have guest speakers from industry enabling our students to meet future employers, visits to workplaces and interview skills workshops. When our students enter the workplace we need to be confident they are prepared with the right skills.”

She said, in addition, the college offers individual work placements and its work experience programme is highly rated having gained the FairTrain gold standard award for quality.

The college, which has a £47million purpose-built campus and sixth form at Rating Lane, is also backing National Apprenticeships Week’s ‘blaze a trail’ social media campaign to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Mark Nicholson, who is deputy principal curriculum and quality, started his career as an electrical apprentice.

“The college is ‘blazing a trail’ as Barrow is one of the top-placed districts nationally for apprenticeship recruitment. It’s a really exciting time to think about taking an apprenticeship whether that’s at school leaver level, or a higher apprenticeship after A Levels or even a degree apprenticeship through employers.”

“Over the past few years there has been significant growth and investment in industry in South Cumbria that demands a workforce with higher level skills. We are seeing more people take the higher and degree apprenticeship route.

“As the leading provider of apprenticeships in the area, we are delighted to support National Apprenticeships Week by showcasing the work we do and our apprentice success stories.”

The college trains more than 700 apprentices each year in 20 sectors with more than 80 apprenticeships to choose from, which helps to support the local business community.

The college will be posting on its social media throughout the week using the hashtags #NCW2019 and #NAW2019 #BlazeATrail

CASE STUDY – APPRENTICESHIPS

Ellie Nicholson studied her A levels at Barrow Sixth Form College before starting her Higher Apprenticeship

Ellie Nicholson, winner of Head of Sixth Form Award 2019/ Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Supply Chain at BAE Systems

Ellie Nicholson began a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Supply Chain at BAE Systems in Barrow after completing her A levels at Barrow Sixth Form College.

She said: “I am loving the responsibility and am working with some really senior people. Sixth form gave me the confidence and self-motivation to go into this professional environment.

“I decided to focus my efforts on a Higher Apprenticeship as they provide such a great opportunity, particularly in Cumbria,” she said.

“I was doing some research online and I saw that BAE Systems is ranked second for the best Higher Apprenticeships in the UK. We’re really lucky that there are some amazing global companies in this area.

“A lot of students at Sixth Form are hoping to progress on to a Higher Apprenticeship as they’re well respected and you can gain valuable experience while studying and earning a salary.

“I’m confident that having a Higher Apprenticeship will help with my career progression.

“In the future, I’d like to have a successful career in Supply Chain and have the opportunity to travel as part of my job. I want to be up there with the high flyers.”

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