#PassTheTorch event helps employers get started with Apprenticeships

The Apprentice Torch paid a visit to Oxfordshire last week as part of a campaign to encourage employers to pledge their commitment to ‪‎Apprenticeships. Employers from across the county came to find out all about employing Apprentices at a breakfast event kindly hosted by electrical engineering firm Darke & Taylor, winners of the Oxfordshire Business Awards Apprenticeship of the Year 2015.

A panel of Apprenticeships experts, including Paddy Patterson of Maverish Ltd and Julie Rossington from the Skills Funding Agency shared the latest information on Apprenticeships and how they work, funding and grants available to businesses and practical tips on how to recruit. They also covered some of the main changes and reforms that will affect Apprenticeships in the future including the Apprenticeship Levy, changes to employers’ National Insurance and plans for how Apprenticeship training will be funded.

Also on the panel was Simon Newton of Darke & Taylor, who shared the company’s experience of employing Apprentices for over 40 years, including how they have introduced Apprenticeships into different areas of the business.

The employers also heard about the support available locally to them from Oxfordshire Apprenticeships before Nigel Tipple, CEO of Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, closed the event by explaining about other opportunities that the employers can offer young people, such as work experience and becoming an O2i (Opportunities to Inspire) business volunteer.

Dr Kerry Lock, Head of Research and Skills at Earth Trust in Little Wittenham attended the event to find out about employing Apprentices for the first time. She said: “The ‘Pass The Torch’ Apprenticeships event provided a jam packed informative snap shot of the world of Apprenticeships, covering the vital questions surrounding funding, employment obligations, engaging with learning providers and government support. Importantly the event provided a great opportunity to hear from a business first hand on the benefits of employing Apprentices and what their key challenges were. The event enabled us to make key contacts including Oxfordshire Apprenticeships which springboarded into a meeting the following week! They were superb in rapidly forwarding key information we needed to fast track our Apprenticeship launch in the next two months.”

The event was organised by Oxfordshire Apprenticeships founder and MD of Maverish Ltd Paddy Patterson, who is leading the Thames Valley #PassTheTorch campaign and running similar events across the region. Paddy said: “It was fantastic to see so many employers making the time to come along to our event to find out all about employing Apprentices, showing that it’s a real priority for them. The Pass The Torch campaign sets out to get employers thinking about Apprenticeships… and then doing something about it. And this event did just that.”

See our Storify summary to read some of the questions and answers from the event and see some photos: https://storify.com/OxonApprentice/ox.

If you’d like to chat to the Oxfordshire Apprenticeships team about employing an Apprentice for your business, get in touch on 01865 323477 or info@oxfordshireapprenticeships.co.uk