The Minister was invited by Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham, who
chaired a discussion on apprenticeships at the college's grade II
listed Kirkley Hall.
As part of the summit organised by the MP and the college,
Apprentices from Northumberland College received awards for
outstanding achievement including Katie Hall, a Business Admin
Apprentice at social housing provider, Bernicia, based in Ashington
and Jason Janczyk who completed an Advanced Apprenticeship in
Engineering working for UK Coal and is now studying for an HNC in
Engineering at the college's Ashington Campus on a part-time
Business leaders included Hexham-based Egger, one of the leading
manufacturers of wood based panels in Europe and SCA, one of the
world's largest personal care manufacturers based in Prudhoe.
Northumberland College's learner success rates, which are above
national averages, now firmly place the college within the top ten
percent of colleges nationally. The college also recently secured
£9million to redevelop its campus facilities.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "It's been fantastic
meeting apprentices at Northumberland College and hearing
first-hand from local businesses and schools.
"Figures out this week show there have been a rise of more than
14% in apprenticeships in Northumberland in the last year. We are
developing this further in 2013 by extending apprenticeships to
include graduate and post-graduate level learning."
Stuart Cutforth, Principal and Chief Executive of the college,
said: "We offer over 40 Apprenticeships within industries as
diverse as equine to horticulture and engineering to hairdressing.
Our learners and the community are at the heart of our college, so
discussing the skills needs of the area to ensure they meet the
demands of employers, benefit young people and society is key."
Guy Opperman, who recruited his own Apprentice, Jade, to support
his constituency office, said: "Many employers tell me they value
Apprentices, because they find it makes their workplace more
productive and provides their business with the right skill-set. We
have a great story to tell on apprentices here in our region with
numbers up over 50%"
Jacqui Henderson, Chair of Governors at Northumberland College,
said: "Apprenticeships are ideal for those who want an alternative
to going to university that will give them the opportunity to
develop high level skills and secure sustainable employment. The
good news is that Apprenticeship figures have increased in the
college and in the region."
Northumberland College offers services and advice to businesses
seeking to recruit Apprentices and can help employers access grant
funding of up to £1,500.
Anyone wishing to find out about Apprenticeships should visit