Apprentices at Kirklees College Engineering Centre showcased the facilities and high tech equipment they use for their studies, during a visit from the UK’s Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills this month when she also celebrated the fact that women are taking up apprentice opportunities in the sector.
Anne Milton was shown the college’s maintenance and fabrication workshops, CNC and mechanical workshops, demonstration areas, automotive workshop and spray booths before engaging in a round table discussion with employers and apprentices currently working with the college.
With overwhelming positive feedback from the students on their current apprenticeships and representation from Reliance Precision and BASF plc, Milton was keen to learn more about the businesses and the challenges they faced within the apprenticeship sector.
Katie Rankin Apprentice and Graduate Programme Leader, said: “At BASF, we are passionate about developing our teams through job-specific training and qualifications, and apprenticeships form a key part of this development. We were delighted to have the opportunity to discuss the key business challenges and future aspirations around skills development with the Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships.”
Principal Marie Gilluley, feels passionate about the provision of apprenticeships and the scope of engineering businesses within the region and said: “Engineering crosses all sectors and Kirklees is very much seen as the place for making things and making things happen. As a college we are proud and passionate about the wide variety of engineering companies and opportunities that exist and the fantastic support the college and students receive from local stakeholders and businesses.”
Points raised from the discussion included ‘the need for employers to talk directly to the parents of students to really highlight the benefits of apprenticeships as a route of study’, ‘the 2020 apprenticeship vision’ and ‘the significant contribution apprenticeships are making to businesses and the wider economy’.
"It was good to see women apprentices taking up the fantastic opportunities that engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships can bring."
Robert Farrell, Training Call Team Leader from Reliance Precision Ltd summarised: “It was great to meet the minister and be able to explain how the Reliance apprenticeship provides interesting and challenging opportunities in highly technical engineering disciplines as well as to hear of her commitment to increasing the quality and uptake of apprenticeships in industry.”
Anne Milton, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills said of her visit: “It was a pleasure to visit Kirklees College in Huddersfield, which is training the next generation of engineers. Kirklees have put in a huge amount of work to make sure the students get the experience they need, working closely with local employers. It was good to see women apprentices taking up the fantastic opportunities that engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships can bring.
“Well supported apprentices become the skilled workforce of the future and congratulations are due to Kirklees College and employers like Reliance Precision and BASF plc.”
“We’d like to thank the Minister for coming to look around our college. We are very pleased that she recognised that we are making a difference to the lives of the people in our communities, and contributing to our local economic success by supporting the productivity of businesses,” said Marie Gilluley, Principal at Kirklees College.
Kirklees College is a large Vocational FE College based in Huddersfield and Dewsbury. We have around 13,000 students with the largest number locally of both young people on study programmes and apprentices, with 3,500 young people on Study Programmes in all subjects and over 2,000 apprentices.