We had been on the point of recruiting an apprentice as the COVID pandemic struck, clearly plans had to change and this was put on hold.
In the last few months things have really started to pick up and we wanted to revisit bringing someone else in to the team.
It was through a relationship with Stockport College (Trafford College Group), which had been developing over time, that the idea of a student joining us was first suggested. They came to present to the businesses here in the centre at one of our breakfast meetings and it seemed like it could be a good fit for us. As a team we were all keen to offer a development opportunity to a student and facilitate their ‘on the job ‘ learning.
Helen Murphy, Work Place Coordinator at the college explained, ‘The placement is a T Level style placement, these are helping both the college and industry get used to the new extended placements that are slowly but surely being introduced into FE colleges, as an alternative to A levels and apprenticeships. Year on year, more T levels will be rolled out and in September we will be starting the first Accounting and Engineering T levels too.
Having employers on board, like yourselves helps us to develop the perfect template placements that could be rolled out time and time again.’
So, after some initial discussions to explore how this would work practically, we signed up!
It took only a short time to complete the paperwork and for the college to select suitable students. It’s fair to say we had a false start with one student, but with all the challenges of the pandemic, committing to a work placement is rather a big deal and we totally understood.
A few days afterwards Ava, who is a business diploma student, came for an initial visit to the centre to meet us and her placement was agreed.
Above – Ava getting to grips with customer files whilst sitting on our reception desk.
Helen reflected, ‘Working with Liz and the team at Stockport Business & Innovation Centre has been a really positive experience this year. The space is a unique one and has a lively business community, the team are keen to develop our student and involve them in all aspects of their roles. They have been willing to introduce us to other businesses in the centre who may also like to mentor a student on a more regular basis, which is great. We see this as a natural link with local, smaller businesses, which inspires our learners and I am sure that this link will grow from strength to strength!’
She has now been with us since the 28th March and we all feel very positive about the placement, she had very good feedback for her first review with Helen. Ava is getting to know the customers and is particularly interested in events management so we plan to get her supporting Tony, our Incubator Director, with the Pioneer 10 events as this competition progresses.
Do make sure you say ‘hello’ if you see Ava around the centre…..
If you would like to know more about T Levels and how they could work for your business, do get in touch and we can let you have the contact details for Helen and the team at the college.