Cumbria-based training provider Gen2 has welcomed its 2021 apprentices this week.
More than 350 apprentices started at Gen2 centres in Workington, Carlisle and Furness, with the number set to rise to around 500 by August 2022.
In addition to traditional science, engineering and business apprenticeships this intake also includes apprenticeships such as teaching assistant, nuclear welding inspection technician, firefighters and project controls.
The apprentices have joined almost 50 Gen2 Higher Education students who are commencing a 16-week bridging with a view to progressing onto a degree apprenticeship in January.
The foundation degree apprenticeship will take place over three years, with a number of the students completing a further two years to achieve a BEng Honours Degree.
Amanda Towers, Gen2 managing director, said: “It has been fantastic to welcome so many new apprentices to Gen2.
“This continued demand clearly demonstrates the importance and value that our employers continue to place on high quality apprenticeships.
“Despite the pandemic we have seen a large number of applications this year for our apprenticeship and degree apprenticeship programmes, and this peak in demand is a clear indicator that many students are looking for alternatives to traditional education routes, including going on to sixth form and university.”
As apprenticeships are open to any age, Gen2 has seen an increase in more mature learners who have joined this year to retrain and gain those skills to meet local employer demand.
This year saw some of the largest employers in the area taking on new talent including Sellafield Ltd, Jacobs, Iggesund Paperboard, LLWR and Balfour Beatty.