Apprentices can help employers to Build The Future

Member News

Apprentices can help employers to Build The Future Employers across Northamptonshire have been urged to bolster their workforce and ‘Build The Future’ as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

The campaign, which runs from February 7 to 13, is shining a light on a new wave of ambitious, workplace-ready students available to companies as they prepare to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northampton College is backing the campaign and has engaged with more than 600 key local partners – including employers such as the NHS, Balfour Beatty, Taylor Wimpey, Kier and Engie – to ensure its curriculum is effectively aligned to industry and economic needs

Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal of Northampton College, said: “We are passionate about apprenticeships and will be putting on a range of activities throughout Apprenticeship Week from school visits and assemblies to Q&As and drop-ins, where people can ask questions and find out more about apprenticeships.

“As we begin to try to make plans for the year ahead, we recognise that young people and their families are facing further disruption and uncertainty. Employers in multiple sectors are still recruiting for apprenticeships and we are keen to give our students the best possible chance of securing work in their chosen industry.”

Now in its 15th year, National Apprenticeship Week aims to raise the profile of apprenticeships amongst employers, individuals, teachers, parents and the media in order to celebrate the positive impact they have on businesses and the wider economy.

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2022 will be ‘Build the Future’; reflecting on how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and businesses to develop a talented workforce that is equipped with future-ready skills.

Barry Tong, managing director of Sol Retail, based in Rothersthorpe Avenue industrial estate, said: “We have gone from having £10 to a £10million business in 10 years and we’re growing rapidly. Apprenticeships are a key part of our growth and are our way of succession planning.

“In two years’ time we know we’re going to need another 10 staff in certain departments so we get them in now as apprentices and give them the training they need to be ready to step up when the time comes.

“Seeing their progression is incredibly rewarding and it allows them the chance to earn good money at a young age while giving us the opportunity to integrate them into the company and our way of working. It’s hugely beneficial for all parties.”

At any one time, Brixworth-based Ilmor Engineering has four or five apprentices from Northampton College among its team, working as machinists or in the quality or engine build departments.

HR Manager at Ilmor Engineering, Diana Herschell, said: “Our apprentices have a permanent job from the moment they start, providing they meet expectations of performance and college.  They are our pipeline of future talent to keep us innovative and at the cutting edge of what we do.  They are part of the team from day one.

“From the first day they start, our apprentices are doing actual practical tasks which are integral to our business success.  They learn the skills of the job, how to continually improve a process as well as working as part of a team and earn a decent salary whilst they do so.”

Mike Poole Decorators cover the Northampton area and currently employ two Apprentices who both attend College working towards achieving Level 2 in Painting and Decorating Occupations.

Mike said: “An Apprenticeship in painting and decorating is a three-year commitment for both employer and student. It helps us to focus on providing high standards of finish and customer care.  It’s good to have company whilst working and great to have the extra pair of hands to help make you more efficient.”

For more information about a range of apprenticeships available at Northampton College, visit