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ncfnPhil Stittle, Head of Apprenticeships at West Suffolk College, was lucky enough to start his career as an apprentice. 

National Apprenticeship Week 2021, which kicks off today, Monday 8 February, almost culminates in a full year of working, learning and living in a different way.

This comprehensive change has not dampened the desire we have at West Suffolk College in supporting local employers, their staff and the next generation of apprentices through Apprenticeship programmes. In fact, Covid-19 has presented us with lots of new opportunities to broaden our Apprenticeship offer and also to enhance the way in which we support learners and employers.

While we recognise and sympathise with businesses who have had extremely difficult times, we have seen others who have flourished and created fantastic opportunities, both for people who are already employed to learn new skills, and also for new apprentices coming into their organisation. There are now almost 600 different Apprenticeship Standards to choose from, with another 89 under development. This growth has allowed employers to fully utilise the government funding and support available and to make sure their workforce is fully skilled, dynamic and responsive to the ever changing landscape.

Apprenticeships are a fantastic option and give a stable platform to develop yourself from. Whether you are fresh from school or college, or have entered the world of work after completing University or a career change, Apprenticeships give you the critical work experience and current skills that all employers demand.

I was lucky enough to start my career as an Apprentice, leaving school at 16 completing my last GCSE exam on the Friday and starting work and my Apprenticeship on the Monday - I have not looked back since! I am now a senior manager at West Suffolk College and have jumped at every learning opportunity presented to me in the last 25 years, as I always say ‘every day is a school day’. Continual professional development is so important as things do not ever stand still. The great news is that Apprenticeships can support you through to degree and post-degree level meaning as your role develops you can align yourself to the relevant training programme.

National Apprenticeship Week gives us with the chance to shout loud and proud about Apprenticeships and inform those who have yet to make a decision over their next steps. We have seen significant recruitment from employers in sectors such as:

  • Health
  • Care
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Business Support (Finance, Procurement, Management)
  • Science

Please make sure you track our website or subscribe to our weekly Apprenticeship Vacancies Bulletin to keep up to date with the latest positions available. Vacancies for Apprenticeships starting in the summer are advertised from now so ensure you act fast to secure your dream position.

To find out more about National Apprenticeship Week please visit www.wsc.ac.uk/NAW2021 or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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