New Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills visits Derwentside College


Derwentside College in Consett is delighted to have received a visit from the new minister for apprenticeships and skills, Robert Halfon MP.

Taking time out of his busy schedule to do a whistle-stop tour of the North East and speak to some of the region’s largest employers at the forefront of the Apprenticeship agenda, Robert, said:  “It’s been a fantastic opportunity to visit Derwentside College.  I’ve met so man­y inspiring students and apprentices who are working hard to achieve their goals.”

“It’s been particularly interesting to see all of the work Derwentside College has been doing to help those who are looking for work and their commitment to ensuring apprenticeships are the real ladders of opportunities they can be.”

As one of the largest and most successful apprenticeship providers in the country, Derwentside College works with over 1,100 employers and 5,800 apprentices. As well as working with employers to enhance the skills of their existing workforce via apprenticeships, Derwentside College has also played an instrumental role in developing a range of innovative schemes to create new jobs for young people in partnership with major employers.­

Karen Redhead, Principal and Chief Executive of Derwentside College said:  “We are delighted to welcome Robert Halfon to the College.  Robert is a true champion of apprenticeships.  Robert’s passion for apprenticeships began long before he was even elected as a MP.  In fact, in his first speech in the House of Commons, Robert argued that we needed to change the way we view apprenticeships in our country so that they are held in the same regard as going to University.”

“Derwentside College is passionate about supporting learners to find jobs. We focus on encouraging learners to develop excellent personal and social skills to enhance their employability and for those already in work, to continue with their professional development through learning.”

We’re also committed to developing outstanding partnerships with employers - the employers Robert has met - County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Durham Constabulary and Thomas Swan, are perfect examples 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 vital work experience they need.”  

Mike Barton, Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary added: “We believe apprenticeships really are a win-win option for both the Constabulary and young people in our communities.  As an organisation we truly value their efforts and relish the opportunity to nurture their talents.”

“I’m happy to say that we have an excellent record in converting our apprentices into full-time staff and they continue to make an invaluable contribution to Durham Constabulary.”