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Record number of Apprentices supported to start careers by Exeter College despite a reported national decline in Apprenticeship starts.

By December 7, 2017January 26th, 2021Member News & Updates, Why Exeter blog


A record number of Apprentices are being supported to start their careers by Exeter College working together with employer partners, despite the downturn in national Apprenticeship starts, as reported by the Department of Education earlier this month.

The college has seen its most successful year with a 36 per cent rise in Apprentices being supported in the year 16/17 versus the previous year. 

In addition, the college has seen growth continue in the latest academic year with the number of Apprentices up 11 per cent August to November 2017, compared with the same period a year ago.  This growth is underpinned by highest ever success rates for Apprenticeship achievement at the college.

These figures are evidence of the strength of good will and support for Apprenticeships among the region’s employers, more of whom than ever before are supporting young people into employment. The college is now working with more than 950 employers across all four corners of Devon and beyond.

The news comes after Exeter College was recently ranked in the Top 10 of all further education colleges in England for exceptional employer satisfaction, scoring 98.5 per cent against a national average figure of 82 per cent, according to the Government’s national FE Choices employer satisfaction survey 2016 to 2017. 

Exeter College’s Director of Apprenticeships and Employer Engagement, Mike Blakeley said: “We recognise that the Apprenticeship Levy has the potential to slow down the number of Apprenticeship starts but exceptional partnership activity with employers, high quality Apprenticeship training and high levels of interest from motivated future Apprentices means that this is not evident in our region.” 

This is evident in the feedback from employers who work with Exeter College.

Nigel Fenn, Chair of the South West Ambassador Network, said: “Whilst nationally there are challenges it’s fantastic to see that South West providers such as Exeter College are bucking the national trend.” 

“For some time the Pennon Group has seen the importance of recruiting and retaining high quality apprentices.  From our experience the awareness by parents and young people continues to grow and I can now see that employers are tuning in to that due to the growth in apprentice numbers.”

Tom Wilson, owner of Saks Hairdressing in Exeter’s Princesshay is equally positive, and said: “At Saks we typically take on between four and eight apprentices each year.  As an employer we feel that it is important to give young people the opportunity to enter our profession and benefit from the exceptional training that our partnership with Exeter College delivers.  Apprentices bring enthusiasm and new ideas into our business and our aim is that they will all complete their training with us and continue their careers with Saks as fully qualified stylists.  Our training standards are incredibly high and we love that we can build a team of stylists from the Apprenticeship programme, a team who we know have been trained to an exceptional standard from the very beginning of their careers.”

Are you an employer?

If you would like advice on taking on an Apprentice for your business call our Apprentice Hotline 01395 400800.

Are you a potential apprentice?

If you would like more information on becoming an Apprentice, Exeter College is hosting an Open Evening across all sites, 5pm-8pm on Wednesday January 17th. Register online today