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College’s Big Apprentice Event “the best one yet” during national push

18th February 2022

Hartlepool College of Further Education

Leaders at Hartlepool College of Further Education have thanked the area’s major local employers for making its flagship annual showpiece “the best one yet”.
The Big Apprenticeship Event, held on Wednesday night as part of National Apprenticeship Week, attracted more employers than ever before.
Sixty-seven companies across a wide-range of sectors had their own stand at the event, representing fields such as civil engineering, hair and beauty, steel making and the NHS.
The evening allowed prospective apprentices to receive expert information, advice and guidance from college staff and its employer partners.
Hartlepool MP Jill Mortimer, the managing director of Hartlepool Borough Council Denise McGuckin, the Deputy Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council Cameron Stokell and Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Helen Kemp (Director of Business and Skills) and Shona Duncan (Head of Employment and Skills) all attended.

The Big Apprentice Event at Hartlepool College

The College’s Assistant Principal Gary Riches said: “We say it every year, but it is something that literally gets better every year. We have had discussions already centred on how we can make it even better again for next year. It was fantastic.
“We had record numbers of exhibitors. We have just had two lockdowns and it was brilliant to see so many employers looking to recruit apprentices.
“It was also excellent to see so many local, regional and international employers providing the right information, advice and guidance to prospective apprentices, their parents and carers.
“We had 67 exhibitors this year, that is the most we have ever had. It is great to compare it against the 50 exhibitors we had two years ago, prior to the pandemic, and the 29 on show in 2014 when we started this event. What is even more pleasing is to see 16 companies who were exhibiting in 2014 are still on show this year with a further eight unable to attend due to their own COVID policies, demonstrating the strong working relationships we have with some of the region’s best employers for apprenticeships.
“Our event highlights an exceptional level of engagement with employers that we have and how we tailor what we do and how we operate to meet the needs of our partners.”
More than 900 apprentices train with Hartlepool College spread over more than 400 employers, all safe in the knowledge that the apprenticeship provision is rated as outstanding by Ofsted.
Caterpillar, Unipres, JDR Cables and North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust are among those who attended.

The Big Apprentice Event at Hartlepool College

Hartlepool-based Property Webmasters’ marketing manager, Luke Fleming, was there too. He said: “It was fantastic to see all of the local businesses come together in support of the Big Apprenticeship event at Hartlepool College.
“We were delighted to meet some ambitious individuals who are looking to kickstart their careers in Digital Marketing and share the unique opportunities we have to offer.”
Jessica Williams, owner of Just Williams, said: “It was a truly spectacular evening. To witness so many actively engaged employers, students and parents all coming together under your roof was really quite special.
“And it gives hope during a challenging time both for employers struggling to recruit and our young people looking for work.”
The full list of business attendees at the Big Event were: Altec Engineering, Anna Campbell Hair & Beauty, Applebridge Construction, Applied Integration, Believe Housing, Caswell Group, Caterpillar Inc, Cogent Skills, Conoco Phillips, CPI, Darchem Engineering, Eastgate Engineering, Evolution Risk Assurance, Fujifilm Diosynth, Galiford Try, Gem Training, Gestamp Tallent, Gleeds, Great Annual Savings, Greenergy, Huntsman, Husqvarna UK, Hydram Engineering, Intelect UK, ITS Ltd, JBA Engineering, JDR Cables, JNP Group, Just Williams Ltd, Katmex, Kier, Liberty Steel Group, Logic Architecture, Lynas Engineers, NEPIC, North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, NSK, Orange Box Training, Persimmon Homes, Poppy’s Hairdressing, Prestige Finishes NE, Property Webmasters, ReGen Group, Seqens, Seymour Civil Engineering, Sulzer, Tata Steel Europe, TekGem, The Expanded Metal Company, Thirteen Group Tilbury Douglas, TMD Friction, Unipres and Unison.

“We say it every year, but it is something that literally gets better every year. We have had discussions already centred on how we can make it even better again for next year. It was fantastic.”
-Gary Riches, Assistant Principal at Hartlepool College


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