Hartlepool College principal’s praise for apprenticeships

Darren Hankey, Principal at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
Darren Hankey, Principal at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

A college leader has praised apprenticeships calling them a ”valuable asset” to businesses.

Darren Hankey, principal at Hartlepool College of Further Education, has shown his support for apprenticeships as a useful route to join the workforce instead of the traditional university route.

“Statistics highlight that roughly a fifth of apprentices aged between 16-18 are in the engineering sector and while more needs to be done to increase this figure, many of these apprentices are proving to be a useful way for organisations to plan for the future and address the issues presented by an ageing workforce,” he said.

This follows a national newspaper report which suggested 150,000 people were “stuck” on schemes which had low skilled and low paid employment at the end.

Mr Hankey, whose college is one of the leading apprenticeship providers in the North East and works with companies such as Tata Steel, acknowledges that more should be done to bridge the skills gap.

He feels apprenticeships are a valuable asset to companies in a range of sectors.

He said: “Many of these apprentices progress through to Higher National Diploma programmes and then onto university – there is nothing dead-end about these training schemes.

“Apprenticeships provide an option for many students who do not wish to further their education down the university route.”

Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron outlined plans to increase the number of apprenticeships across the UK, pledging to support three million apprenticeships by 2020.