EMPLOYERS ACROSS THE CITY are supporting Apprenticeships as career development opportunities for people of all ages.

Sunderland City Council is one of those promoting the increasing employment and training opportunities available to people across the city, through workplace apprenticeships.

Apprentices are employed across the council in a variety of roles from policy and communications to environmental and technical services.

An increasing number of businesses in Sunderland employ apprentices who use their workplace based vocational training to develop their skills and boost their long-term employability and career prospects.

Deputy Leader for Sunderland City Council, Councillor Michael Mordey said: “Apprenticeships provide great opportunities not only for school leavers and graduates, but also for people at any stage of their career.

“Apprentices help bring new ideas and enthusiasm into the workplace, and their employers help them develop existing skills and identify new ones so it’s a mutually beneficial business arrangement.

“In Sunderland we are committed to providing everyone with the best possible education, training and employment opportunities that we can, and apprenticeships have an increasingly important part to play in helping us to achieve that.”

Joe Blacklock, 19, from Hetton who is an Apprentice with Infrastructure and Commercial said: “Apprenticeships are a great way of gaining valuable work experience, I have one day at college and the rest of the week split between working on-site and the design office.

“My long term aim is to become a group engineer and the training and experience I’m getting is hopefully going to help me achieve that.”

His colleague Courtney Dobie, 21, added: “I was studying Graphics at University but realised it wasn’t for me, and saw an online advert for Apprenticeships here so applied.

“I’m involved with lot of design based work in highways and traffic, and want to eventually become a Civil Engineer.”

Adam Atkinson, 23, is a Customer Services Apprentice working in the City and Neighbourhood Department helping people calling with concerns ranging from litter and wheelie-bins, to potholes and anti-social behaviour.

Adam said: “I previously worked in call centres dealing with financial services, but this was an opportunity to work at the council across departments and use my skills to help people in a different way.

“I listen to their concerns, and then explain the process of what will happen next to address them and people and timescale involved.”

Iain Crowe, 23, from Roker is a Digital Apprentice working with the council’s Communications team to keep residents informed about services, events and activities across the community.

Iain, a Marketing Graduate said: “My Apprenticeship is a great opportunity, and can hopefully help lead to me into getting a more permanent role with the council.

“I’m bringing my own social media skills and marketing experience into the workplace, and learning a lot from my helpful and supportive colleagues

“The thing is to really get involved with everything, and I’m taking part in the lunchtime and after work well-ness and sports activities too.”

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During national Apprenticeship Week employers and training providers including Siglion, Gentoo and Sunderland College held apprenticeship open days and advice sessions on opportunities within the automotive industry, construction, trade and building skills.

Year Nine pupils across the city were also told more about Apprenticeships and the opportunities they can provide for their career development.

During the week, the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Lynda Scanlan, officially opened the Code apprentice training academy in the city centre which specialises in digital skills.

The BGL Academy and Tech Hub is also creating more than 40 new apprenticeships for school leavers and graduates in digital distribution of insurance and financial services for national clients.

Founder and CEO of Sunderland company Code ( formerly known as Centre of Digital Excellence ) , Simon Howatson said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Mayor supported our opening event, as we all work towards demonstrating the value of apprenticeships in supporting young people’s aspirations and career development in Sunderland.”

Spokesperson for the BGL Group, Rachael Gillett added: “Sunderland plays a key role in our talent development pipeline, and both the BGS Academy and our new tech hub demonstrates the importance we place on developing local talent and expanding our investment in Sunderland.”

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