Employer Academies Launched To Address Skills Shortages

Employers and students at academy launch event Employers and students at academy launch event

Ten academies aimed at producing work-ready youngsters and addressing skills shortages in key industries in Derby have been launched.

The Employer Academies have been set up by Derby College in partnership with several employers.

They are:

  • Atlas Building and Groundworks Academy: aimed at providing Construction students at the College with the multi-skills they need for the groundworks industry
  • Cricket Derbyshire Hospitality Academy: which also provides Catering and Hospitality students at the College with potential for paid part time work
  • Cricket Derbyshire Sports Academy: based at Derbyshire County Cricket Club: providing training and work experience opportunities for Sports students
  • Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: aimed at broadening young people’s career opportunities in healthcare.
  • Derby Telegraph Media Sales Academy: giving Business students a unique insight into the demanding world of media sales
  • epm:technology Advanced Composites Academy: introducing Engineering students to the rapidly expanding advanced composites manufacturing industry
  • Hodgkinson Brickwork Academy: working with Hodgkinson Builders in Derby to address skills shortages in the construction industry
  • Huub Marketing and Product Development Academy: enabling Business students to be involved in Huub which is a growing company designing triathlon wetsuits for international markets
  • iBox Web and Programme Development Academy: in partnership with iBox Security in Derby which is working with IT students at the College
  • The Finesse Collection Professional Cookery Academy: with Catering and Hospitality students working alongside top chefs at the Cathedral Quarter Hotel, Donington Manor Hotel and at the host of events handled by the company’s outdoor catering division – Finesse Hospitality.
  • risual Microsoft Academy: working Microsoft’s UK Country Partner of The Year 2015, risual Limited, to address a growing shortage of digital skills and bridge the gap between industry and education.

More than 150 students have enrolled on the Academy programme.  They will benefit from regular work experience at the businesses, take part in master classes and special projects and, in some cases, gain paid part time work alongside their studies at the College.

All Academy members will be offered an interview at the end of their course for a job or apprenticeship at the company.

Derby College Business Development Director April Hayhurst said: Derby College Business Development Director April Hayhurst continued: “As a College we are committed to working with employers to ensure that the skills we are developing in young people today are those required by businesses in the future.

“Our aim is to help smooth the transition from education to employment and with that, fill  skills gaps in key industries across the city and region.”

Atlas Director Jamie Lord praised Derby College for helping to tackle the skills shortage in the construction and groundworks industry.

“We need to build all these houses but we have to build the foundations and have the workforce in place to do the work.  Derby College are the only local college to proactively do something about this.”

Sean Price from iBox Security added: “The problem with just studying is that you’re not really learning how to do the job.

“Our students will therefore split their time between classes and working with us.  I’d rather they were behind a computer because that’s how you learn and that’s what this industry desperately needs.”

Derbyshire Cricket Club Operations Manager Ben Burgher-Fuller continued: “Getting that first step on the career ladder is the hardest one.

“Having qualifications on paper is only part of the journey.  That’s why the Employer Academies are such a fantastic idea.”

And Graham Mulholland from emp:technology concluded: “This is about getting people interested in engineering – making it exciting and even sexy.

“Engineering is incredible and it can take you around the world.  Nothings exists without someone thinking about it, designing it and making it.”

Among the students on the academy programme is Tarn Buxton (16) from Wirksworth who is a first year level three business student and a member of the Huub Product Development Academy

A keen triathlete and open water swimmer, Tarn sports Huub wetsuits when competing and was keen to be involved with the company

“It is great to be involved with a company that I already know and in a sport that I love.  My goal is to work in project management so I hope that this will open doors for me either at Huub or another company after I finish my College course.”

Emily Truman (16) from Long Eaton is a member of The Finesse Collection Academy Professional Cookery Academy, combining her course at the Roundhouse’s Engine Shed restaurant with work experience at the company.

“This is a great opportunity to get work experience to go with the qualifications I will get here.”

Emma Thatcher (17) from Borrowash is on the Derbyshire Cricket Club Sports Academy.

She is a keen cricketer and already plays for Ockbrook Cricket Club.  “This is a fantastic opportunity to improve my game through top quality coaching and also to learn more about the various jobs that are available both on the pitch and behind the scenes at the County Ground.”

Construction students on the Hodgkinson Brickwork Academy at Derby College have already gained valuable work experience with a difference – working alongside tradesmen from across the UK on the recent DIY SOS Big Build project in Manchester.

Ian Hodgkinson invited nine Academy members who are based at the College’s campuses in Ilkeston and Derby to join him on the project which was recently televised on the BBC.

They were involved in the massive project to renovate a whole street into houses for former servicemen and their families and even had the chance to meet Princes William and Harry who made a surprise visit to the project.

Among the students involved in the project was Callum Wheeldon and Sam Rose.

Callum (16) from Chellaston said: “I reckon we were the youngest people on site and got involved in all sorts of jobs from bricklaying outside walls to labouring for some of the other construction workers on site.

“There were hundreds of people involved in the project but it was all really organised and everyone mucked in together.

“This was the best thing I have ever done and I am really pleased that I have joined the Hodgkinson Brickwork Academy to get the chance to work on site.”

Sam (16) from Ilkeston added: “As well as seeing the two Princes, we met a lot of the ex servicemen who will live in the houses and it was amazing to hear some of their stories.

“It was long days – getting up early to go up to Manchester and coming home late over the two weeks but it is really worth it.

“The whole project was amazing and we are all looking forward to seeing it on the television.

“We have lots of other work experience lined up under the Academy and my aim is to get an apprenticeship at the end of my course at College.”


Last modified on Wednesday, 04 November 2015 09:37


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