Two of Teesside’s top college leaders swapped with students to spend the day as apprentices.
Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive, and Gary Cumiskey, deputy principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College went back to their career roots to try their hand at an apprenticeship.
Taking place March 4 to March 8, National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) celebrates the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy.
Zoe spent the day shadowing apprentice Shanise Smith in the finance department at Middlesbrough Council where she began her accountancy career 20 years ago.
Meanwhile Gary got his hands dirty installing windows and doors with housing provider Beyond Housing.
Zoe said: “I was impressed by the quality and standard of Shanise’s work and by the commitment and support she received from her team at the Council.
“It was also lovely to see so many familiar faces from my time there many years ago and to see how the careers of colleagues from long ago had flourished and developed.
“The day gave me a real insight into life as an apprentice today and how valuable learning ‘on the job’ can be to a young person’s development and work readiness.”
Gary, who worked as a joiner prior to moving into education, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my day with Beyond Housing.
“It was great to see how the industry has evolved since I worked in it – and I enjoyed the chance to get my tools out again!”
Alex Orr, a Level 2 Joinery Apprentice at Beyond Housing said starting an apprenticeship was the best decision he’d ever made.
Gary added: “Working alongside Alex allowed me to see first-hand the excellent support and training he is receiving from Beyond Housing and the high quality skills he is developing.”
Emma Tooth, apprenticeship coordinator at Beyond Housing, said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for people to train and begin their career. We value our apprentices and want to help them grow and succeed in a future career with Beyond Housing.
“We’re proud to offer a successful apprenticeship programme in a wide range of roles. They are a big part of the organisation’s culture and provide us with home grown talent for the future.”
Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “At Middlesbrough Council we are very proud of our apprenticeship programme and the opportunities it continues to provide for so many people.
“Our apprentices can be inspired by Zoe and her career path and we are pleased that she enjoyed her return to the Council and her time with Shanise.”
Middlesbrough College offers a range of apprenticeships through its specialist training and apprenticeship arm, Northern Skills Group.