07
Feb

Local MP shadows our apprentice for the day

Cheadle MP Mary Robinson spent Monday morning visiting our degree-level apprentice to see first-hand how on the job training is helping young people get on and up the career ladder.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we invited Mary to visit our offices and meet our apprentice, Bradley Johnson. Bradley is our first degree apprentice and is part way through his accelerated three-year quantity surveying course at the University of Salford.

Bradley showed Mary around the offices while talking about the benefits of studying and working at the same time, meaning he gains practical industry skills as he learns.

Mary also met with our directors Danny Doohan and Paul Grady, to talk about challenges facing the construction sector, skills shortages and the benefits of hiring and training apprentices, particularly now that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can access funding via the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS).

Degree apprenticeships allow students to get a full bachelor’s or master’s degree while working, with tuition fees paid for by the employer through the levy and with the student earning a salary. Combining academic study with on-the-job training, they bring together the best of higher and vocational education.

For SMEs like us, who have previously sponsored staff through degrees part time, the apprenticeship non-levy funding means we now only have to pay for 5% of the costs of the apprenticeship, with the other 95% coming from government funding. This allows us to hire and develop young people like Bradley, giving him the real world skills he needs to hit the ground running when he graduates and helping to fill the skills shortage.

Following the visit, Bradley said: “It was great to get the chance to show Mary what it’s like being a degree apprentice. I love learning on the job, putting my learning to practical use. The traditional university route is an option many people take but knowing I will graduate with the practical skills to succeed in this industry is important for me.”

Mary said: “I was impressed by Bradley and his enthusiasm for learning. Degree apprenticeships are a fantastic route for people looking to succeed in their industry and are an important tool to give people the skills to succeed. SMEs like ACS Construction Group can also benefit from the apprenticeship levy as it allows them to develop their workforce – I am delighted to see them take on a young apprentice.

Adele Lochman, Degree Apprenticeship Business Development Lead at the University of Salford, said: “ACS Construction Group is a brilliant company for Bradley to learn at, and we were delighted that Mary could visit them. The University of Salford will always support SMEs around Greater Manchester develop the talent and skills in their workforce and have a positive impact on their area.

 For more information about the University of Salford

The University of Salford is a Higher Education institution in Greater Manchester. With over 20,000 students we are fastest growing university in the North West. Established 50 years ago, but with our roots in the Royal Technical Institute of Salford of the 19th century, we take an industry-led approach to teaching and research. Our goal is to provide our students with real world experiences that set them up for life and to work with partners to tackle real world social and economic challenges through research and enterprise.

Degree apprenticeships are a modern-day interpretation of our industrial heritage. We started with 16 apprentices in 2016 and in 2020 we will be taking on our 1,000th apprentice. We work with 150 employers – both large and small, both levy paying and non-levy paying – and over 700 apprentices, enrolled on 15 different programmes across key sectors, including health care, biomedical science, property and construction, business and digital technology.

 Images: L-R – Brad Johnson, Assistant Quantity Surveyor; Jayne Greaves, Training & Development Manager; Mary Robinson MP; Michael Stott, Quantity Surveyor; Danny Doohan, Director; Paul Grady, Director