The Apprenticeships Champions Group returns with a new focus

30 October 2019

The Apprenticeships Champions Group originally formed in 2016 with the main aim of promoting apprenticeships across the city. Key employers representing a variety of sectors came together to act as ambassadors for Apprenticeships at Salford City College. Building upon the close links that they previously established, they are re-launching with a new focus. 

Frank O’Sullivan

With the help of select businesses that they have partnered with, they hope to ensure that their provision meets sector requirements, as well as the local and national requirements. Not only that, but they also aim to deliver excellent apprenticeships and training services to employers and learners across the borough. The overall aim of this is that they eventually become a Grade 1 provider.

One of the key members of The Apprenticeships Champions group is Frank O’Sullivan, Strategic HR & Organisational Development Manager at Salford City Council. When asked about how this scheme will benefit Salford, Frank said: “Developing a skilled, flexible and resilient workforce able to achieve our ambition of ‘A Better and Fairer Salford’, can only be achieved if we invest in skills and professional development and we continue to attract and retain the best talent.”

Upon finishing school at the age of 16, many school leavers are faced with a hard decision. The traditional route of university, is often instilled into many school leavers. However, apprenticeships are an alternative route that propel school leavers into the working world. Joseph Allen, the managing director at CARA Brickwork explained: “I am a firm believer that we should be going into schools and attracting students to apprenticeships when they’re 14/15 years old. If we do that, then we can show them that there is a different pathway other than university.”

He added: “Many people see construction as a wet and rainy industry, but construction has turned around so much in the last couple of years. There’s great facilities and a good wage. We just need to promote that with the help from schemes like this.”

Joseph Allen

Melanie O’Connor

For organisations like Aspire, an adult support service provider, apprenticeships represent a good way of training individuals in preparation for entering the workplace. Head of HR, Organisational Development and Training at Aspire, Melanie O’Connor said: “Schemes like this give us an opportunity to feedback, influence and drive the necessary improvements.”

She added: “If we are part of the discussion and the conversation that’s saying ‘how can we develop the frameworks’, ‘how we can develop the content’ and ‘how we can develop all these areas’ then that can only be a good thing. Coming at it from an Aspire perspective means that we will be thinking about how we can get that value back. Having that overall influence and input into the delivery will be incredibly beneficial to everyone involved.”

Select employers, such as the ones mentioned, attended the first meeting at the relaunch to provide invaluable feedback. Allan Milne, Head of Apprenticeship and Business Development, lead the first group event.

Speaking about the partnership and the benefits it has on apprenticeships, Allan said: “The Apprenticeship Champions group is a key element of our apprenticeship quality strategy. It is essential that we are delivering programmes that meets the needs of our employer, clients and wider industries. The champions provide us with valuable and current information on their sectors. 


“The passion and support we get from the champions is brilliant, long may that continue!”

If you would like to find out more about The Apprentice Champions Group, then contact Apprenticeships at Salford City College on:

0161 631 5555

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