Apprentices in the North Yorkshire area have been playing a key role in the COVID-19 pandemic, and they will be crucial to the productivity of the UK and the country's recovery. Employers have been adapting their production to manufacture PPE visors, as well as ventilator components during the crisis.
Claire Gavaghan, Chief Executive Officer said 'we moved to remote delivery in mid-March, before the Government lockdown, to keep learners and staff safe. We went from a standing start learning and adapting as we went. It was not easy but it was essential. We knew we could not let apprentices be forgotten in the midst of a national crisis. They are crucial to the productivity of the UK and the country's recovery. Not one apprentice has been placed on a break in learning, all of them are still in-learning and are making progress towards achievement. Employers and apprentices are happy with the continued training.'
Claire continued 'the staff are working brilliantly supporting each apprentice and their employer. Trainers deliver training at weekends as well as through the week, we have taken laptops to apprentice's homes if they do not have one so they can keep up with their programme and we have all learnt how to use video-conferencing platforms to deliver lessons, tutorials, and apprenticeship reviews. We will continue to follow Government guidance, and at the appropriate time, start to deliver practical skills training again, but only when it is safe to do so.'
The collaborative work between Derwent Training Association, employers and apprentices is clearly paying off as achievement rates have increased this year, up by 16 points to 70%, which is well above the national average of 61% for engineering apprenticeships. Claire concluded, 'employers still want employees to start new apprenticeships and we are actively supporting them to do this. We are currently assessing a significant number of applicants for apprenticeship vacancies and helping employers match the right employee to the right course for their business needs. There is no doubt times are tough for us all, but investing in training employees is key to moving forwards and being able to cope with the future.'