The six Colleges of Further and Higher Education are working in partnership on an Apprenticeship Mentoring Project, funded through the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund, which supports new and innovative approaches to the development, recruitment and delivery of apprenticeships. 

The Challenge Fund is part of the Department for the Economy’s Apprenticeship Recovery Package for Northern Ireland which channels financial support to help the apprenticeship system respond to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Southern Regional College, Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
The Southern Regional College, Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

William Greer, Chief Training and Contracts Officer at SERC, lead partner for the Apprenticeship Mentoring Project said “We will be working together to devise an employer mentoring programme to equip the managers of apprentices with the skills they need to effectively support and develop apprentices and apprenticeship programmes.  An online module will certify employers as a trained Apprentice mentor. The resources produced will also help employers to better understand the structure of Apprenticeship NI and Higher-Level Apprenticeship programmes with the strategic objective of increasing participation.” 

He added, “The workplace can be a daunting place for new apprentices and the project will improve their experience of going to work for the first time, confident that someone is looking out for them in the workplace. The overall objective is to ensure that apprentices feel more valued and are better supported and to stay on track and achieve their qualifications.”

Fiona Bradley, Assistant Director for Further Education and Training at Southern Regional College said;

“We are delighted to be part of this collaborative initiative to help further drive and support the NI local and regional economy. Our local businesses have and will continue to operate in a challenging climate for the foreseeable future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The support which the Challenge Fund will provide our local businesses coupled with the support and expertise of our experienced staff, will certainly help them navigate their way through this crisis.”

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