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Praise for apprentices during the pandemic

27 January 2021

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Employers from the North West have praised Bolton College’s apprentices for their response to the coronavirus pandemic.


The College’s Business Development Team, which delivers 40 Apprenticeship programmes across 12 industry areas, has received a deluge of positive feedback since last March concerning its apprentices’ approach to the challenges of the past 12 months. 


The College, which is part of the University of Bolton Group, works with over 600 leading employers across the North West, supplying apprentices for a variety of sectors, including construction, education, healthcare and financial services.


Apprenticeships are real jobs, with a salary and a contract of employment. The College’s apprentices spend 80% of their time training on the job, then 20% learning in College or remotely.


Employers were particularly impressed by their apprentices’ strong work ethics and can-do attitudes during Covid, citing that many played pivotal roles, helping their workplace adapt to the new rules and regulations of Covid. 


St Joseph's RC High School in Horwich employs four apprentices through Bolton College – three teaching assistant apprentices and one business apprentice.


Rachel Hawkrigg, SENco at the school, said: “In what has been one of the most difficult years for working in schools, I have been amazed and humbled by how determined our apprentices have been; they have coped and gone above and beyond in supporting our vulnerable young people in school.


“To start an apprenticeship and be met with lockdown, yet to still rise to the challenge of supporting in school - ringing homes, answering multiple emails, supporting online learning with pupils they haven't even met - just shows the capability, resilience and value of our young people in the workforce.”


Abby Chapman (pictured, right), who owns hairdressing salon Mirror & Mane, was equally impressed with her hairdressing apprentice Caitlin Hesketh (pictured, left). Abby said: “Caitlin has kept motivated and hasn’t let the pandemic get her down; she’s kept her enthusiasm and dedication to the salon and Bolton College.


“The periods when we’ve returned to the salon have been all hands on deck and there’s been a much higher workload for everyone, but Caitlin and my other employees have adapted to the situation and kept the salon up and running.”


It wasn’t just the College’s apprentices who received recognition – its Business Development Team was also recognised for its efforts made to help keep things running smoothly.


Jodie and Mike O’Brien, from Makerfield Roof Solutions, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have always had a point of contact from the College to answer any questions and offer reassurance of plans at these uncertain times.”


Matthew Cumberbatch, Projects Manager & Director of Winslow Construction & Renovation added: “Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, the College team provided fantastic support with information, advice and guidance on the recruitment and training of apprentices, and also facilitated the company’s access to the allowances and grants available to support the apprentices and their training.” 


Kate Wallace, Director of Apprenticeships at Bolton College said: “I’m so proud of the manner in which our apprentices have overcome the challenges they’ve faced over the past year; they’ve shown perseverance and a real maturity and I’m so pleased that our employers are as equally pleased with them as we are.


“I’d also like to give special thanks to our employers. This has been a year like no other, and I know that this has placed enormous pressures and strains on many employers. Not only have they reacted to these and overcome them admirably, they’ve also continued to provide unfaltering support and encouragement for our apprentices and for that, I am extremely grateful. “  


To learn more about Apprenticeships at Bolton College, click here or call 01204 482 036.