As part of National Apprenticeships Week, we caught up with Grant Glendinning, Executive Principal NCG (North) about NCG's Apprenticeship Hub based on our main Rye Hill campus. It will combine the apprenticeship provision of Newcastle College and Carlisle College and will not only support apprenticeship delivery across all of our colleges, but importantly, it will provide a ‘go-to’ service for employers and aspirational apprentices across the North East and Cumbria. 

“Our role as a college, and indeed as a group, is to develop a workforce that is skilled, fit for purpose and in a position to drive forward our regions, support our local economies and help businesses recover from the impact of the past year.

��Apprenticeships are a vital way of giving people of all ages the skills they need to get ahead and to give us the workforce our economy needs to recover.

“Apprentices possess skills that will be invaluable to employers trying to build back up and plan for the future.

“The past year has proven just how resilient, adaptable and innovative they are.

“It is for that reason that businesses who are in a position to recruit apprentices have continued to do so, and we haven’t stopped supporting those businesses – we’ve recently helped DXC to recruit a new cohort of apprentices for their North East headquarters.

“Our ambition at NCG is to become a leading provider in all our college locations, growing and increasing the numbers of higher, degree and specialist apprenticeships.”

The focus on supporting employers and local economies is one which the Government says will ensure colleges are meeting the needs of their region.

This is nothing new for Newcastle College and the colleges in its group, which have always ensured employers have driven the development of their curriculum.

“All of NCG’s colleges are at the heart of their communities,” Grant says.

“Everything we do is with the aim of making an impact locally and I think it’s clear that Newcastle College plays an integral role in the North East and responds to the needs of employers here.

“The work we have done to support key areas, such as green energy, digital tech and engineering, is really important and that will continue, even without the Government focus, because we know how vital it is that our students are gaining the skills they need.

“The great benefit of being part of NCG is that we can collaborate with colleges across the entire country to share best practice and find the best ways of supporting our own learners, our local employers and our own regions.

Grant continues: “We call it collaborative innovation and together we help each other to make local impact that turns into national impact.

“This includes the way that we support our apprentices and their employers and help them to succeed. One thing we have found throughout this pandemic is that as we have all adapted to working remotely, we have been able to connect and collaborate more than ever.

“That has benefited us in ways we might not have expected. We have not only managed to develop plans for NCG Skills, but a brand-new way to support apprentices and employers here in the North East.

“Very soon NCG will be opening an Apprenticeship Hub, based at its headquarters on Newcastle College’s campus,” says Grant.

“It will combine the apprenticeship provision of Carlisle College and Newcastle College and will aim to provide a ‘go-to’ service for employers and aspirational apprentices across the North East and Cumbria, but will provide support with apprenticeship delivery for colleges across the entire NCG group.

“It is going to be just one part of a wider set of services that we have planned for employers, which will offer support for local businesses such as workforce planning advice, business clinics and specialist training.

Grant adds: “For would-be apprentices, it’ll be a concentration of high-quality careers and training opportunities that will help them gain the skills and experience they need for a meaningful and sustainable career.

“For Newcastle College, it will enable us to drive quality, grow our apprenticeship provision and support the recovery of the North East’s economy, all while we support NCG to achieve its vision of enabling social mobility and economic prosperity through exceptional education.”