10th February 2022
More people than ever are seeing the benefits of apprenticeships
A Devon college is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with an increase in the number of people signing up to do apprenticeships.
In the last two years South Devon College has seen a 65% growth across all sectors and ages. There has been notable increases in adults over 19 on the Initial Teacher Education, Hair and Beauty and Electrical Installation apprenticeships.
“We are delighted that so many adults are seeing the value of an apprenticeship,” said Emily Tucker, Head of Apprenticeships and Employer Engagement at South Devon College.
“An apprenticeship is a real job, with a contract and salary and it’s available to anyone over 16 years old. There is no upward limit on age so it offers a real opportunity for people wanting to change direction later in life. We’ve seen an upsurge in people wanting to retrain or change their career since Covid. The benefit of an apprenticeship is that you earn as you learn and we have a variety of apprenticeships to suit everyone from Level 2, which is equivalent to GCSEs, up to degree level at University Centre South Devon.”
28 year old Libby Grant from Paignton decided to do a Hair and Beauty apprenticeship after signing up for a hairdressing evening class. She was working as a manager at a fast food restaurant at the time but had always wanted to be a hairdresser.
“I decided to do an apprenticeship as I felt I needed more confidence to be able to get into a salon. I didn’t feel I could just do a college course and then apply to be in a hairdressers because I feel like you need salon experience like working with clients and working with other people. So I thought an apprenticeship would be the best option so I could go to college and work in a salon.”
Libby says she got a lot of support during her apprenticeship from her tutors at South Devon College and she really enjoyed meeting new people on her course.
“The apprenticeship has really changed my life. I’ve gained so much experience in everything, not just to do with hairdressing. I feel I can go out and do so much more. I feel really confident in my job as a hair stylist and really enjoyed being an apprentice.”
There are apprenticeships available at South Devon College across all sectors, including the recognisable ones like care, construction and catering but there’s also apprenticeships in marketing, management and audiology.
The college has a strong partnership with Specsavers who runs its Hearing Aid Dispenser programme at the college. Specsavers takes on between sixty to seventy apprentices a year and is expanding rapidly to keep up with demand.
“Not everyone wants to go to university and the apprenticeship programme allows people to go into work and study at the same time. It opens up a variety of doors and also gives us the opportunity to grow our own workforce.” explained Sonam Sehemby, Professional Audiology Development Manager at Specsavers.
“It is an accelerated course across 16 months with online learning and 30 hours a week in an audiology business so it’s intense but allows people to join the profession and develop their career.”
Now a qualified hair stylist working in a salon, with aspirations to own her own salon one day, Libby says she’d recommend anyone to sign up for an apprenticeship.
“Don’t have any fear. It’s so easy to sign up, it’s easy to make friends and the tutors are really kind and supportive.”
For further information on apprenticeships at South Devon College go to southdevon.ac.uk/apprenticeships.