Apprenticeships still retain the true meaning of ‘levelling up’

Nikos Savvas, CEO of the Eastern Colleges Group, which includes West Suffolk College

Nikos Savvas, CEO of the Eastern Colleges Group, West Suffolk College’s apprenticeship offering can help to boost people’s careers, businesses and the economy - Credit: West Suffolk College

We’ve seen a lot of discussion recently about the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. As expected, this has resonated with people in different ways, bringing both sceptics and supporters.

For me, as a leader in education, I’m interested in what this means for our students, our community, the employers we collaborate with and the economy that we’re boosting. 

In essence, I believe that the essential qualities of an apprenticeship stand for everything levelling up should be about – mobilising somebody’s strengths and providing a springboard to prosperity.  

While an apprenticeship is the product of a national policy, what makes West Suffolk College one of the leading providers in the country is how we tailor each apprenticeship with the employer and student-employee in mind.

We look at the future skills and requirements for that company and the individual and shape their training to fit.

If a student needs to understand more about sustainability in a manufacturing role, we cater for it.

Or, if management skills are required for someone destined to oversee a team, we make sure that they have those qualifications built into their training. 

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We continue to grow apprenticeships at all levels in a huge range of sectors. From accountancy to advanced manufacturing, hairdressing to hospitality, childcare to carpentry.

Our apprenticeship numbers have more than tripled in the past seven years, a figure which is constantly growing. This speaks volumes about the impact our training is having.

We are now offering more bespoke training for the growing sectors in our region than ever before – such as science and technology, healthcare and pharmacy – with huge industry and employer partnerships, including with the Sizewell C consortium and major NHS contracts.

We package these employer partnerships with proactive personal development programmes to build the character strengths for success, such as resilience, respect and optimism.

This for me is what levelling up is all about – providing aspirational, high quality and inclusive education to help people reach their goals and contribute to the prosperity of our communities and economies.

Please visit www.wsc.ac.uk to learn more about apprenticeships at West Suffolk College.