A new apprenticeship hub has been launched at Telford College, bringing employers together to share best practice and discuss the challenges of employing and developing people.

The hub is being sponsored by the Gatsby Foundation and delivered in partnership with MRM Solutions Limited.

“The aim of the programme is quite simple – to share ideas and make it easier for employers to deliver an expansive apprenticeship programme,” said Telford College’s employer engagement manager Beckie Bosworth.

“Much of the learning in an apprenticeship happens in the workplace, and this creates some challenges.

“We must balance the need to get the job done and the need for the apprentice to learn, balance what is taught in college with the skills needed to do the job, and find the right mix of experience for the apprentice within the constraints of the company.

“Sometimes, highly skilled operators need a helping hand with teaching and mentoring – which is why we want to bring a group of companies together to share experiences, challenges and solutions.”

Among the businesses already involved are Avara Foods, Eurovia, Ringway Jacobs, Aga Rangemaster, Wrekin Housing Group, RBSL, Limegreen Products, Bespoke Computing, Pickstock, Dodd Group, plus Telford and Wrekin Council.

Chris Pallett, managing director of Bespoke Computing, described it as a ‘really informative morning talking about apprenticeships and ways that we, and other businesses, can develop better training and development opportunities for our people’.

The hub will now meet four times a year – twice in person and twice virtually – backed up by a private virtual hub where members can post questions and ideas.

Andrew Gibbons of MRM Solutions Limited, who works closely with the Gatsby Foundation to help employers wishing to provide apprenticeships, gave a presentation about the aims and objectives of the new Telford College hub.

Beckie added: “All the companies involved will already employ apprentices, and share an ambition to deliver high-quality learning.

“Problems and challenges will be raised at each meeting, and collective learning will help smooth any rough edges in each company’s programme. And, as it is employer driven, we know that the topics will be relevant and practical.”