Leading North East College welcomes ESFA Director


Keith Smith, Director of Apprenticeships at the Education and Skills Funding Agency was welcomed to Derwentside College today to find out how the College’s innovative working practices have helped it to become one of largest apprenticeship providers in the country.  

During his visit Keith (pictured centre) was able to hear about how the College engages with employers and discuss how reforms to Apprenticeships and the Apprenticeship Levy have been effectively implemented.  As part of his visit Keith participated in a round table discussion with members of the College’s management team and two large levy paying employers to discuss how the Apprenticeship Levy reforms have been implemented. Keith was also able to meet a number of the College’s students involved in apprenticeship programmes and hear first-hand their experiences.

Sharing our successes 

Susan Errington, Executive Director of Business Development at Derwentside College added: “It has been a pleasure to welcome Keith to Derwentside College for the first time.  As one of the largest providers of apprenticeships in the country we are at the forefront of the sector and we are delighted to have been able to share with Keith our recent successes.”

Outstanding employer partnerships

Susan continued: “We’re passionate about supporting leaners from all backgrounds, and Derwentside College has played an instrumental role in developing a range of innovative schemes to create new jobs for young people in partnership with major employers.

“In addition, we are committed to establishing outstanding partnerships with employers to enhance the skills of their existing workforce via apprenticeships. The organisations Keith has met today, including County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, are perfect exemplars of how we build strong, long-lasting relationships with employers to ensure they get the best, high quality apprentices and that our learners get the essential work experience they require.”