Employers benefit as high achievers choose Apprenticeships

Many high-achieving students are now opting for Apprenticeship placements.

Employers across Cornwall are benefitting from an increased number of high achievers from Truro and Penwith College choosing the Apprenticeship route.

This year has already noted a 20% rise in students starting Apprenticeship training with the College, a figure that is expected to rise by the end of 2016.

While Apprenticeships are proving an increasingly popular option for students across the board, there has been a noticeable spike in high achievers taking up Apprenticeship jobs with large and small local businesses.

With an overall A-Level pass rate of 99.5%, 2015 saw Truro and Penwith College achieve a record number of higher grades (A* - C), with 87% of students achieving grades at this level, compared to the national average of 77.3%.

While outstanding results allow students to secure places on the most competitive university degree courses, many cannot ignore the benefits of choosing the Apprenticeship route.

Rhys Downing from Camborne studied the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in IT at Truro College and passed with triple distinction in 2015. Rhys took up an Apprenticeship position in IT Support with Pendennis Ship Yard (Falmouth) in September 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

He said: “I considered university, but the Apprenticeship route appealed to me because it provides the opportunity to earn a wage and learn in the environment I want to work in. I feel that I am progressing all the time, and hope that this is the start of a long career working in IT”.    

Pendennis Ship Yard has been enjoying the results delivered by Apprentices for 18 years, and will welcome its 200th Apprentice this month.

Jill Carr, Human Resources Director, commented: “Many Apprentices undertake further studies following graduation, including degrees and management training, and as a result some have progressed into senior supervisory and managerial roles with the company. Individual Apprentices have been recognised for their abilities in national awards such as the UK Skills Awards and the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights Queens Silver Medal.

“The scheme itself has also has won numerous awards for setting standards not only in the marine industry but against businesses throughout the South West. When our Apprentices complete our four-year course they are already valuable members of the trades teams, and we can boast over a 90% retention rate. The various experiences throughout their course means that Apprenticeships develop well-rounded individuals who become valuable members of the project teams at Pendennis.”

Rhys is by no means the first high achiever to choose the Apprenticeship route after studying at FE Level with the College. Cornwall’s 2015 Apprentice of the Year Kate Cooke was offered places at university, but chose the Apprenticeship route to pursue her career in Accountancy. After being awarded the Apprentice of the year Award in 2015 Kate was awarded a three-year training contract with her employer Lang Bennetts, and is working towards her qualifications to become a Chartered Accountant.

Helen Hood, Manager and Apprentice Co-ordinator at Lang Bennetts, reflected on Kate’s time as an Apprentice. “We have seen a shy person who knew little about the business community, grow and mature over the last two years, into someone who is confident, diligent and commercially aware. Since Kate has been part of the team we have seen turnover growth of more than 10% per year, each year. Kate has been part of that success.”

Businesses interested in recruiting an Apprentice should contact the College’s Apprenticeship Team on 01872 242711 or apprenticeships@truro-penwith.ac.uk for advice and guidance.

If you think your Apprenticeship scheme deserves recognition at the 2016 Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards, nominations are open now and can be submitted at www.truro-penwith.ac.uk/CornwallApprenticeshipAwards.