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SERC Unveils New Apprenticeships For School Leavers
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SERC is enhancing its educational opportunities by launching of a range of brand-new apprenticeship programmes to help local school leavers find their dream career.

Beginning in November 2013 the new programme will offer good news for those seeking to make the transition from education to employment.

South Eastern Regional College (SERC), one of the UK’s leading providers of further and higher education, will deliver the new courses at their Downpatrick, Lisburn, Bangor and Newtownards Campuses which will see the introduction of twenty-four innovative apprenticeship opportunities for the local and surrounding communities. Courses include administration, engineering, manufacturing, retail, leisure, IT, motor, agriculture and many more.

Stephen Mooney at work in the woodwork department in SERC.

Apprentice Stephen Mooney at work in the woodwork department in SERC.

For the first time ever SERC are inviting young people from across Down from Castlereagh, Banbridge, Newry and Mourne, Craigavon and Antrim to attend their campus to complete the programme. The two year programmes are ideal for anyone aged between 16 to 24 who would like to get an industry recognised level 2 qualification which will help them secure employment.  It could also be used as a starting point for those who wish to progress on to higher education or training.

“SERC is extremely excited to expand their range of apprenticeship opportunities to local students and the surrounding communities. The new courses will open new doors for young people to embark upon a learning experience that could transform their lives,” said Mr Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive of SERC.

Specialist joinery firm William Dowling are one of many companies who have realised the benefits of employing apprentices.

Stephen Woodrow, Contracts Director at William Dowling Ltd, said, ‘The apprentices come to us with the latest skills and knowledge of the emerging technologies which we are currently working with. The skills and knowledge that they learn at College is remarkable and put to good use within the everyday demands of the job.  I find it refreshing that the young people of today are learning the important technological skills of tomorrow.”

William Greer, Head of Training at SERC, added: “SERC apprenticeship programmes give students the opportunity to develop their skills and put theory into practice.  SERC is committed to providing trainees with as many opportunities as possible to help their employability, including industry projects and placements which are designed to enhance an apprentice’s CV. Combining employment with a structured training programme, apprentices will receive a salary and study towards an internationally-recognised professional qualification with the potential to gain permanent roles upon completion.”

The success of SERC students at local, national and international skills competitions is testament to the high quality teaching and learning that SERC has to offer. And, with 97 per cent of students progressing onto employment, self-employment or further education on completion of their course, apprenticeships are a real alternative to university for ambitious people who want to earn while working towards recognised qualifications and a rewarding career.

Refrigeration apprentice Adam Lyness, who was crowned the 2012 SkillFRIDGE champion, said “Getting the apprenticeship has changed my life. I got the opportunity to study for a qualification, whilst at the same time getting really valuable work experience AND being paid. I worked alongside experienced craftsmen which helped build by knowledge and learn specific job skills which has helped me gain employment now that I have completed my course.”

Apprentice Callum McCaffrey, who completed his NVQ Joinery apprentice with Mount Stewart said of his experience: “I really enjoyed my apprenticeship and having the opportunity to learn new skills. Last year I travelled to China to complete conservation work which I really enjoyed. We were given sufficient training and responsibility to manage our own specific projects. I would defiantly recommend an apprenticeship programme to anyone who wanted an exciting rewarding career and the chance to learn on the job rather than in the classroom.”

SERC will be holding three open day events on 22 August 10am-8pm, 23 August 10am-3.30pm and 27 August 10am-5pm for perspective students to find out more about the range of courses on offer.

To find out how SERC can help you ‘get the edge’ call 0845 600 7555, visit www.serc.ac.uk or find us on Facebook, search: South Eastern Regional College.