Northumberland College smashes target for apprenticeships

Horticulture apprentice Mark Fairbairn.

Horticulture apprentice Mark Fairbairn.

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Northumberland College exceeded its apprenticeship targets last academic year, and it is now looking to keep up that record.

The apprenticeship training offered by the colleges campuses in Ashington and at kirkley Hall, near Ponteland, now covers a broader range of industry sectors than ever before, so it is confident of hitting or exceeding its target again, both for teenagers aged 16 to 18 and adults.

The college offers more than 40 apprenticeship subject frameworks and regularly works with employers to deliver bespoke elements for training courses.

Subjects covered include construction, engineering, hairdressing, the creative industries, early years care, business administration, information technology and land-based work.

The Kirkley Hall campus – offering dedicated facilities for apprenticeships within the land-based sector, including agriculture, arboriculture, environmental conservation and landscape gardening and horticulture – topped its targets for apprenticeships by 25 per cent.

Level three horticulture apprentice Mark Fairbairn, of Blakelaw in Newcastle, is just one of its success stories, having landed a job at Newcastle company One Landscapes six months ago.

Mark said: “Horticulture is what I’m passionate about, and this apprenticeship is the perfect stepping stone into my future career.

“The skills I have developed have given me the confidence to consider starting my own business in the future.”

Mike Evans, contracts manager at the Ouseburn firm, said: “Mark has proved himself and is a valuable member of the team.

“He has been working on soft landscaping projects such as tree-planting, shrub-planting and laying turf at our housing development projects across Northumberland, Tyneside, Wearside and Teesside.”

Mark works four days a week at One Landscapes and attends the Kirkley Hall campus one day a week.

Catherine Johnson, a horticulture tutor at the college, said: “Mark is a high-performing student, and we get really positive feedback on how he’s fitting in within the workplace.”

To find out more about apprenticeships, visit www.northumberland.ac.uk/employers