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National Apprenticeship Week arrived in Peterborough last week and business leaders marked the occasion by taking part in ‘Back 2 the Floor’ – a campaign designed to emphasise the value of apprenticeships to the local economy and to encourage more businesses in the area to consider offering them.
As CEO of the city’s economic development company, Opportunity Peterborough, I was keen to support the initiative: apprenticeships are an invaluable option for people to develop their skills and realise their potential.
Through the Skills Service, a business and education brokerage programme delivered by Opportunity Peterborough, we have maintained a consistently high level of engagement with young people, making sure that they understand the choices that are out there for them and not just accepting the perceived routes they feel they should or must take.
Apprenticeships have developed a bit of stigma in this country over the last few decades; which is a real shame. In many other European countries, however, they are seen as a valuable part of the economic community: driving up practical skills and working knowledge. Fortunately, the UK has rediscovered this opportunity in the last few years: it is good for business, for the people engaged on the apprenticeships, and the future workforce of the city.
My time at Masteroast provided me with a great insight into the manufacturing community of the city, and into one of Peterborough’s business success stories. Seeing a complex industrial system in operation where the whole process and plant forms part of seamless well-oiled machine, inspired thoughts of how such a systemic approach could be applied to many other areas of city life: driving up effectiveness, efficiency and quality.
Equally impressive was the diversity of Masteroast’s offer and their entrepreneurial spirit.. To see both the high tech instrumentation and the human eye applied to the complexities and subtleties of the colour of the coffee beans following roasting was, well, eye-opening.
The blend of craft and science, systemic processes with the creation of a true ‘family industry’ ethos, and the global company firmly rooted in Peterborough, was inspirational. And it is that blend of business approaches and rich experience that apprentices, of any age, should be able to access and learn from.
To find out more about apprenticeships and how they deliver value, click here.