If you look at the news this year there has been only one prominent subject. The COVID pandemic has affected everyone and their businesses. One business owner in July was heard to say ‘I miss BREXIT’ as they strived to keep their organisation moving forward. In 2021 as the vaccination programme rolls out there will be an economic upturn. When vaccinations were MHRA approved the stock market rose, reflecting the optimism and resilience of business people internationally.
Liverpool City Region businesses have always been resourceful and this year will bounce back. Last year, despite COVID, many businesses in Liverpool were busy across a variety of sectors. This has created current and future opportunities for local people to earn and learn. Apprenticeship Support by Be More have been busy promoting apprenticeships, advertising opportunities and finding new ways to inspire employers and employees of the future. “COVID has affected us all, the way we work, the way we train and the way we are having to live our lives currently. We have developed new ways of reaching out to people, just as the resourceful businesses across Liverpool have. We contained the impact of COVID and carried on,” says Melanie Dodd, Apprenticeship Support Skills Strategy Manager.
The Apprenticeship Support team play an important role presenting a career pathway that many people are not aware of, some feel dubious about and others didn’t know was available in the sectors they want to work in. Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers, larger organisations are using them for succession planning, filling skills gaps. Job Centres, assisting people looking for work, are presenting apprenticeships as a valuable route into companies, building their skills and experience.
“We have been busy this year supporting Liverpool City Region’s future workforce and helping organisations develop new skills needed as they refine the way they work and offer different products and services. Pupils that left school this year and those planning their futures for next year need to understand there are a range of career paths to consider and that apprenticeships may suit some of them as an alternative to University,” explains Melanie.
Her team have achieved a great deal during 2020 creating and delivering innovative ways to reach out across the community and let them know about the benefits of apprenticeships. Hundreds of different activities in 2020 have seen thousands of people learn about and start their apprenticeship journeys. “Apprenticeships may not be for everyone, but they bring an opportunity to earn while you learn and most turn into a long term job when completed. We want people to know about apprenticeships, find ones that suit them and advise them on how to apply to give them the best possible chance of success.” Melanie says.
The activities run by the Apprenticeship Support team have been diverse this year. In addition to advertising Apprenticeships on the Be More website they have held more than 40 virtual presentations with Youth Obligation Groups in job centres across the region. More than 30 schools have enjoyed talks about how apprenticeships could be a route to their first job. Pre-covid the team would visit the school, but now virtual presentations have been developed together with learn live broadcasts harnessing digital technologies to inform pupils. This September also saw the launch of plays in schools delivered by a professional theatre company. It tells the story of Sophie and her journey to become a trained Fire, Emergency and Security Systems Technician. Eight performances to date have proved successful and different performances are being developed that will premier later this year.
The Apprenticeship Support team have also helped to develop the Liverpool City Region Youth Task Force. This task force will help 18 to 30 years olds into employment. Each local authority area will have a hub providing face-to-face support from trusted organisations working with young people. This is a national initiative and one of the first Youth hubs opened at Merseyside Youth Association in Liverpool City Centre last month.
Finally, it’s time to party. The team has been planning an Apprentice Graduation event in April. Promising to be a spectacular event it will celebrate Apprentices’ achievements across the Liverpool City region. Apprentices will be celebrating in style with family, friends and special guests recognising their years of hard work and dedication.