Claire Croskery, Ewan Pullan, left and Luke Dicicco at the Cumbria for business day in London last year
A campaign to promote Cumbria as the best place to work, live, learn and play has been working with a number of international companies to encourage talented young people to choose an exciting and long-term career in the county.
The Choose Cumbria initiative, spearheaded by CN Group, has been supporting partners including BAE Systems, GSK, Kimberly-Clark, the NHS, the University of Cumbria and Furness College by promoting their apprenticeship schemes and showcasing their career opportunities.
With Cumbria set to witness unprecedented levels of investment – including a £350 million redevelopment of the BAE Systems Maritime Submarine facilities in Barrow – 25,000 jobs will be created in a wide variety of sectors, including engineering, project management and IT.
Choose Cumbria is keen to inspire young people to stay in Cumbria, to capitalise on the opportunities available, and consider an apprenticeship to start a successful career with long-term prospects in the region.
Claire Croskery, content manager for Choose Cumbria, said: “Apprenticeships offer a fantastic opportunity for employers and employees, allowing businesses to train new and existing employees with the latest thinking in their field and provide them with a wide range of transferrable skills.
“Apprentices bring new ideas and innovative ways of thinking to a company, so businesses are able to develop their future leaders through apprenticeship programmes.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for businesses in Cumbria to grow their workforce with the right skills and knowledge they need to grow and compete on the national – and international – stage.”
With the introduction of the government’s apprenticeship levy – which requires all UK employers with a pay bill over £3 million each year to invest in apprenticeships – Choose Cumbria is keen to encourage members of the business community in Cumbria to employ apprentices.
Choose Cumbria works with a number of approved training providers in the area, including the University of Cumbria, Furness College and Kendal College, who provide a wide range of apprenticeship training.
The University of Cumbria, which has sites in Carlisle, Barrow and Ambleside, has designed a programme of Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships in collaboration with employers to meet the need for a highly skilled workforce in the region.
Claire Croskery said: “We’re keen to challenge the perception that apprenticeships are predominantly for male school leavers. Higher and degree apprenticeships are a great way for people of all ages to gain a higher level of education without losing valuable on-the-job experience.
“Businesses eligible to pay the apprenticeship levy can identify skills gaps in their organisation and use their levy funding to train their existing staff with high level qualifications.”
Choose Cumbria works closely with businesses who already have strong apprenticeships programmes, such as Kimberly-Clark, to provide an insight into life as an apprentice and advice for applicants and businesses on making the most of apprenticeships.
A new apprenticeships section has recently been launched on the Choose Cumbria website to provide answers to frequently asked questions, facts, useful resources and case studies for applicants, businesses, parents and teachers interested in apprenticeships.