Furness College is working in partnership with almost 200 employers, supporting over 400 apprentices to achieve their aspirations across Barrow and beyond.

Construction and Engineering have been popular this year, with growth seen in hospitality, customer service, business administration, education, sport and hairdressing.

Head of Apprenticeships, Gareth Sykes says it is fitting that the theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2024 is ‘Skills for Life’.

“We have seen many of our apprentices thrive in the workplace, developing skills in industry, progressing onto higher education, higher-level apprenticeships and running their own business.

“An apprenticeship can start at any age and creates opportunities for development that meets the needs of the apprentice and supports the changing needs of industry. We work with a large number of employers in the local area who have seen first hand how taking on an apprentice can bring a fresh perspective and contribute to the success of their business”

Paul Irving, founder and owner of Irv’s Restorations, completed an apprenticeship with Furness College and is now providing opportunities for others to get into the trade.

The Mail: Furness College offers apprenticeships across 20 sectors and 80 apprenticeship standards.Furness College offers apprenticeships across 20 sectors and 80 apprenticeship standards. (Image: Furness College)Paul said: “I did an apprenticeship with Furness College in 1996 in body repairs. I have worked with John who is a lecturer at College in various ways over the years and he is great at what he does. Body repairs is quite niche and without the apprenticeships and new blood it will be a dying trade in this area.”

Paul currently employs a mechanical apprentice and is hoping to recruit to his body repairs team in the near future. Previous apprentices have gone on to great things in the business and beyond, including Lee who is Body Shop Manager. Paul encourages other employers to consider apprentices for their workforce.

“Apprentices are going to be the future. When you employ an apprentice, you can train them and mould them to how you work, especially when you are doing something niche. If other businesses have opportunities, they should be thinking about an apprentice to make sure that we keep the skills that we need in the town.”

Furness College offers apprenticeships across 20 sectors and 80 apprenticeship standards. Channelside campus is purpose built to support the needs for skilled workers with training taking place in state-of-the-art workshops, alongside classroom learning. The Teaching Excellence Framework has awarded Furness College with the Silver rating for its quality of higher education teaching, which includes higher and degree-level apprenticeships.

For all small to medium enterprises many apprenticeships are fully funded, some incur a 5% charge. Some industry sectors offer incentives for employers. The government also offers a £1000 incentive to support apprentices if they are aged 16 to 18 or 19 to 25 with an education, health and care plan, or have previously been in care.

For more information on apprenticeships at Furness College, call the Apprenticeship Team on 01229 825017 or email apprenticeships@furness.ac.uk.