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National Apprenticeship Week 2023 - February 6 to 12

During the 16th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships, colleges, training providers and employers across the country are coming together to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

The theme for this year's campaign is 'skills for life', reflecting how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career - and help businesses develop a talented workforce equipped with future-ready skills.

We spoke to some of our current apprentices and their employers to find out how their apprenticeships were benefiting them.

Emily Allanson, 19

Emily Allanson

Level 3 Business Administration Apprentice

Advance Learning Partnership,

“I chose to do an apprenticeship as I was keen to begin my career but acknowledged I did not have the experience required for my goals. As I was completing my A Levels, I began looking at further qualifications and realised I needed a change from just learning in classrooms and wanted first-hand experience whilst continuing my education. Apprenticeships provided the perfect solution.

“From my apprenticeship I have gained confidence and experience through working with my team; they have given me the tools to professionally deal with any employee queries, develop my IT skills on various platforms and give any support I need.

“My employer Advance Learning Partnership is a growing Multi Academy Trust which has allowed me to see what is necessary when a company is growing and learn ways to adapt to new situations with new people.

“Once I have completed my apprenticeship, I would like to progress to an HR qualification with ALP. My apprenticeship within ALP’s HR and Payroll department has allowed me to gain HR experience and, with the benefit of my colleagues’ experience, helped me understand what qualities are required for a career in HR.

Shawna Batey, Employee Services and Payroll Manager at ALP, said: “We employ 16 apprentices at ALP across various fields within our Central Services team and our 14 academies in County Durham. Current apprenticeships include finance, systems and data, marketing, administration and teaching assistant roles.

“Due to the growth of our Trust, in 2022 we made the decision to take on an administration apprentice in our busy HR and Payroll department within ALP Central Services. Emily was the successful candidate and began her role with us in September 2022.

“Emily is an asset to our team! She is full of fresh ideas, has excellent IT skills and is extremely organised. Under our guidance Emily has been involved in various projects and has familiarised herself with our in-house systems and processes very quickly, which has been a huge benefit to us as a team in a time of Trust growth.

“Emily’s support is invaluable to us, as this enables us to effectively manage our caseloads. We aim to share our knowledge and give Emily the opportunities and experience to ensure that she has the tools and knowledge to move on to the next steps of her career.”

Lewis Lumley-Young, 24


Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprentice

King James I Academy,
Bishop Auckland

“Taking on an apprenticeship at an older age can seem scary, feeling as if you’re not an appropriate age anymore. However, the benefits and comfort that come with it make it a reliable and safe path to follow.

“Apprenticeships offer a safe path to the job and career I want, attaining valuable qualifications in the process.”

Rachel Coy, at King James I Academy, said: “As an employer, we are proud to be able to support trainee Learning Support Assistants with their apprenticeship as it brings huge benefits to the academy, our students and the trainee.

“Apprentices are able to benefit from practical day-to-day experience as a Learning Support Assistant while allowing our students to succeed.”

Qiaoling Cao, 45


Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprentice
Cockton Hill Infants School,
Bishop Auckland

“I had been working as a public service interpreter up until I had my children. At this point I wanted a new challenge and also the flexibility to work around my young children’s schooling. I was also very keen on working with children and training to become a teaching assistant was something that really appealed to me.

“I saw the opportunity advertised at Bishop Auckland College, and after speaking to one of their advisors I realised apprenticeships were not just for school leavers and that adults could also take advantage of the excellent training.

“I applied and was successful; I am now working as an apprentice teaching assistant at Cockton Hill Infants School. I enjoy supporting the teachers and the young children, all of the staff at the school and at the college have been incredibly supportive and I am keen to turn this experience into a new career for me.”

Katie Hutchinson, 24

Katie Hutchinson NAW

Level 2 Hairdressing Apprentice
Truly Love Hair Boutique,

“I am really enjoying my apprenticeship. I have been learning on the job, gaining skills in cutting, colouring, styling and hair extensions, working with industry-trained tutors.

“I have gained experience working with customer and appointment systems. I feel I have come so far already and have loved entering competitions.”

Employer Tracey Hutchinson added: “Sometimes it’s hard to get the right staff; this way (via apprenticeships) you can invest your time into training the next generation of staff to work like you and benefit your company.”

Lauren Pattison, 24

Lauren Pattison

Early Years Educator
Staindrop Church of England Primary School

After achieving a distinction in her Level 3 Apprenticeship in Early Years and being named Bishop Auckland College’s Apprentice of the Year for 2022, Lauren secured full time employment as an Early Years Educator with the same employer who she completed her apprenticeship with, Staindrop C of E school.

Matthew Hetherington, 18


Level 2 Joinery Apprentice
Tees Valley Trade Group

“I left school with one ambition, to become a joiner. I enjoy making and creating things and working with a natural product such as timber is very satisfying and personally rewarding.

“Working as an apprentice is great for me as I am learning my trade on the job and learning new skills.

“I would recommend Bishop Auckland College as they helped me gain the apprenticeship and I also attend once a week where I gain further experience and knowledge like fitting kitchens and hanging doors.”


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