Apprenticeship academy to help plug skills gap

Apprenticeship academy to help plug skills gap

A new apprenticeship academy launching in Bishop Auckland is set to create scores of highly skilled jobs for young people.

Auckland Castle and Bishop Auckland College have joined forces to launch the Auckland Academy to equip students with the expertise needed for the planned £60m redevelopment of the former palace home of England’s only Prince Bishops.

The ground-breaking initiative has grown from an existing affiliation with Bishop Auckland College which has already seen four apprentices join Auckland Castle’s rapidly expanding workforce over the past six months.

With more than 100 new full and part-time posts predicted to be generated at Auckland Castle alone by the restoration and expansion plans set to get underway this year, the charitable trust behind the tourist destination is keen to nurture the area’s young talent.

Between 15 and 20 students are expected to sign-up for the inaugural academy course starting this September, which will offer work experience, training, and apprenticeship opportunities at not just Auckland Castle but other local employers, alongside academic qualifications.

Rebecca Coates, Auckland Castle Trust’s human resources director, who is leading on the partnership with Bishop Auckland College, said: “What we will be able to give the students is a better opportunity to find other skilled jobs.

“The academy is as much about the castle and Bishop Auckland College working together to better equip young people to go out into the wider community to gain a skilled, full-time job, as us being able to offer full-time employment.

“The idea is not just for the castle to be creating jobs, but about setting a benchmark for excellence that we hope will be supported by other employers in the area.

“We want to create a pool of properly trained, confident, able and ultimately employable people to go out into the wider community who can make sure Bishop Auckland town, not just the castle, is ready for the massive developments about to get underway here.”

Auckland Castle needs to fill a variety of jobs, from horticulturists to business administrators, maintenance staff, trainee chefs, customer service and hospitality workers, and events and promotions staff.

The Auckland Academy is believed to be the first time an independently run heritage attraction and further education college has teamed up in this way.