South Oxfordshire event helps businesses make sense of Apprenticeships

As part of a major drive to boost the number of Oxfordshire businesses who take on Apprentices, the Oxfordshire Apprenticeships group partnered up with Jennings of Garsington Ltd to host a special briefing event for over 40 local employers on 11 October 2012 at Hampden House in Chalgrove.

Oxfordshire Apprenticeships, a unique partnership between Oxfordshire County Council, District Councils and the National Apprenticeship Service, has been supporting increasing numbers of businesses across Oxfordshire through individual and group briefings throughout 2012 and have many more events and initiatives planned for 2013 and beyond.

The South Oxfordshire Apprenticeships event set out to help businesses in the area “make sense” of Apprenticeships and hear about the positive impact Apprentices can have in the workplace. An expert panel included representatives from Oxfordshire County Council, the National Apprenticeship Service, Abingdon and Witney College and Councillor Melanie Magee from Cherwell District Council, who is one of the few councillors in the UK with a specific brief for Apprenticeships. 

The panel were able to provide clear information on recruitment, working hours, training providers and funding, including details of AGE 16 to 24, a new Apprenticeship Grant for Employers. The audience also heard first hand from Jill Rayner from Fyne Associates who spoke passionately about her experiences of employing Apprentices, and were also highly impressed by testimonies from Simon Maisey and Rachael Cooper, both currently Apprentices at Abingdon and Witney College and South and Vale Council respectively. 

Paddy Patterson from Oxfordshire County Council, who chaired the event said: “The aim of these events is to help businesses make sense of Apprenticeships by giving the facts, busting the myths, and by letting businesses hear from employers and Apprentices themselves on their experiences. It’s also important that we listen to businesses, so that Oxfordshire Apprenticeships – as a partnership of agencies and organisations - can better understand the barriers facing employers, and involve them in plain-English discussions about the solutions.”

Kate Carruthers, Operations Manager at Oxford Wood recycling was among the attendees praising the event, describing it as: “A wealth of information presented in an accessible and clear format. At last, a sensible approach to explaining things!”

To find out more about how Oxfordshire County Council’s Business and Skills Bureau can help local businesses with apprenticeships, see our support for employers page or contact Paddy Patterson, Business & Skills Partnership Officer on 01865 328086 or paddy.patterson@oxfordshire.gov.uk.