Apprentices go for gold in Northumberland skill-building challenge

Participants in the Apprenticeship Challenge at Kirkley Hall.

Participants in the Apprenticeship Challenge at Kirkley Hall.

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Apprentices and employers teamed up yesterday to enjoy a range of outdoor challenges to mark this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.

Northumberland College’s annual Apprenticeship Challenge, played host to more than 50 apprentices and their regional employers, which took place at the college’s Kirkley Hall campus, near Ponteland.

On the high ropes during the Apprentice Challenge at Kirkley Hall.

On the high ropes during the Apprentice Challenge at Kirkley Hall.

Companies including Bernicia, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, Northumberland County Council, GSP UK Ltd, UK Coal, SPX, Naturalight Bedlington, Active Composites, Innovation Global, GV Engineering, Care Quality Commission and Northumberland College cheered on the apprentices as they competed against each other in activities such as a zip wire, high ropes and forest challenge, finishing with a classic egg and spoon and sack race finale.

The winning team were a mixture of engineers and customer service apprentices from Northumberland College’s own apprenticeship programme.

Northumberland College has recruited more than 450 apprenticeships for employers in the past six months. The college is currently developing pre-apprenticeship training programmes designed to help young people gain basic employment skills such as improving English and maths, to support the transition from education into employment.

Liz McMillan, external relationship manager at Northumberland College, said: “The Apprenticeship Challenge generated a lot of team spirit and it was a fun day for everyone involved. The apprentices who took part also built on their workplace skills; this will be a real asset to their employers.

Today has been a fantastic opportunity for apprentices to build on their team-working and leadership skills

Debra Beattie

“The challenge proved to be popular with employers and we hope to welcome more in future years.”

Debra Beattie, head of organisational development at Bernicia, was one of the employers who attended. She said: “Today has been a fantastic opportunity for apprentices to build on their team-working and leadership skills. It has been a thoroughly enjoyable day.”

The event also provided the opportunity for employers to see new facilities, including a learning centre for land-based education, as part of a £9.5million investment upgrade that has taken place across the college’s Ashington and Kirkley Hall campuses.

For further information about apprenticeships and other learning opportunities offered by Northumberland College call 01670 841200 or visit www.northumberland.ac.uk