Government Minister makes ‘virtual visit’ to view Apprenticeship training excellence at Themis at Burnley College

A Government Minister at the heart of the Department for Education has paid a ‘virtual visit’ to Burnley College this week to talk to its highly-skilled Themis Apprentices, their industry-expert Tutors and Trainers and to view just some of the amazing facilities in its £100 million town centre Campus.

Gillian Keegan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, checked in from her offices in Westminster for the virtual visit, in which she discussed the impact of Covid-19 on the training sector and how Themis’s close links with employers are vital to secure the North West’s future business prosperity.

Themis and the wider College community has adapted

The visit, hosted by Principal of Burnley College Karen Buchanan, Deputy Principal Simon Jordan and Director of Themis Neil Burrows, spotlighted how Themis and the wider College community has adapted over the past three months, including:

· How training, teaching and learning has continued throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period and beyond, with Tutors and Trainers providing engaging, interactive opportunities online for Apprentices and students to further enhance their learning through access to additional, high-level resources

· How intense planning and adherence to Government recommendations has enabled Themis to once again open its doors to limited numbers of Apprentices to continue their practical training

· The launch of Themis’s innovative Pre-Apprenticeship programme to ensure school leavers have access to high-quality, industry-specific training while the economy recovers and they await their ideal Apprenticeship opportunity

· Increased communication and liaison between Themis and employers to ensure potential Apprentices receive the latest training relating to safe working practices and are ‘workforce-ready’ to join their existing teams the moment business increases post-Covid-19

· How Themis Apprentices have been at the very forefront of the national response to Covid-19, using their specialist skills, adaptability and resilience to ensure their employers and communities have the resources and support needed throughout these unusual times

· How the Themis and Burnley College family has united over lockdown and beyond to offer the kindness, understanding and support needed – alongside a plethora of digital resources – to each individual member.

Karen Buchanan said:

“We are immensely proud of everything our Themis Apprentices, their Tutors and Trainers have achieved – not just through the Covid-19 period but throughout the year – and it has been a privilege to showcase our amazing achievements and innovation to the Minister.

“It was a great opportunity for us to highlight how our role at the very heart of the business community in the North West is integral to the region’s economic recovery. How our position as a leading voice on advisory boards, in employer forums and networks and on round tables gives us the vital insights into the future training needs of employers. How we can shape our Apprenticeship training and business skills training to dovetail with these needs and help to shape a dynamic, forward-thinking and motivated workforce with the high-level skills and knowledge needed for the post-Covid-19 business landscape.

“A shining example of Burnley leading the way”

“We were also pleased to discuss in depth our innovative Pre-Apprenticeship programme to ensure school leavers do not miss out on great Apprenticeship opportunities to launch successful careers – and employers have the skilled, motivated Apprentices ready to fit seamlessly into their workforce when needed. This is a shining example of Burnley leading the way in solving problems created by Covid-19 across both the training and business sector and one we hope can be adopted by training providers nationally.”

During the visit the Minister also:

· Remotely guided one of the College’s 3D printers to create a portcullis-design coaster in the high-tech Industry 4.0 hub in its Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Excellence

· Met star of Sir Alan Sugar’s ‘The Apprentice’ Adam Corbally who has led regular successful motivational training sessions with students and Apprentices alike to enable them to recognise their amazing potential and inspire them to be their very best

· Chatted with Degree Apprentices who are studying at the College’s UCB (University Courses Burnley) base

· Met high-flying, award-winning Apprentices at all stages of their Apprenticeship journeys, their Tutors and Trainers, Employers and parents

· Gained an insight into College’s state-of-the-art, industry-standard facilities and learnt of further investment plans.

The Minister said:

“It was fantastic to virtually visit Burnley College today, who are leading the way in making sure people across the region gain the skills they need to progress – with

outstanding teachers, working with local employers and state of the art equipment, including 3D printers and drones.

“I met many inspiring, fantastic apprentices, some of whom have won national and local awards and are working in a range of exciting industries including advanced manufacturing, engineering, healthcare and horticulture. I was delighted to meet a real frontline hero, Sabena, a pharmacy assistant apprentice, who has been on the frontline during Covid-19, making sure patients get the medication they need during this unprecedented time.

“I wish them all the best and look forward to hearing more about their brilliant work.”

Karen Buchanan added:

“Coming so soon after Burnley College Sixth Form Centre was named number one College in England by the Government for its student achievement rates, to host this Ministerial visit is a real honour and shows just how we are making an impact nationally.

“We hope that, once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, the Minister will come to visit us in person and experience the amazing atmosphere of possibility and achievement that surrounds you when you enter our outstanding Campus. In the meantime, we will be sure to keep her updated on the progress of our great Apprentices and how we are striving to drive future industrial growth in the region.”

Discover how you can be part of Burnley College’s success story – through A Levels, Vocational study or a Themis Apprenticeship. Be part of the supportive, empowering and caring Themis and Burnley College where we are focussed on your individual success. Be part of the number one College in England for student achievement. Visit burnley.ac.uk; email s.services@burnley.ac.uk or call 01282 733373 now for a place to start in September – or be one of the first to secure your place for Autumn 2021.