Seven Employers Who Say Apprentices are Good for Business!

04 March 2019

We joined forces with the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership to support businesses in understanding the benefits of recruiting apprentices. As part of a broad strategy to join up the skills needs of regional employers with the apprenticeship training, we have worked together to develop an Employer’s Apprenticeship Toolkit that aims to ease the way businesses build apprentices into their long term business planning and navigate funding streams, including the apprenticeship levy.. The toolkit is now live on our Growth Hub, How’s business, and you can access it here.

Many businesses tell us they are facing difficulties with staff recruitment and retention, an ageing workforce and skills gap. Employing apprentices is one way that businesses can address these difficulties. Through intergenerational learning, up-skilling existing staff, building a local workforce and driving diversity into STEM related jobs, businesses can tackle the difficulties they are facing.

But, don’t just take it from us. Here are seven employers in the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Region who say that buying into apprenticeships really good for business



Ian Nicholls, North York Moors National Park


The North York Moors National Park launched its apprenticeship programme in 2002, with a small team of environmental conservation apprentices. Since this time, the scheme has supported 120 young people to become ‘job ready’, directly addressing local skills shortages through their training and development programme. The Authority now employs 17 apprentices across business administration, tourism and conservation, making up 14% of total staff. The National Park was recently awarded a prestigious 2018 Princess Royal Training Award.

Ian Nicholls heads up the apprenticeship programme at the National Park. He said:

“It’s great for young people, as their academic achievements are propped up by practical work experience, and many of them leave us to go into full time, permanent roles in the local area, within both the private and public sectors.

“As an organisation, we also experience great gains from having apprentices in the business. We have low staff turnover, so the throughput of apprentices helps to keep innovation alive. Our arentices have helped us to innovate our social media output, allowing us to engage with brand new audiences.

“Our success has been recognised with awards, most recently the Princess Royal Training Award. There is hard work involved, but the effort is rewarded. We’re just really positive about working with young people.”

If you’d like to find out more about North York Moors apprentices, visit their website here:

Dale Power Solutions, Scarborough

Dale Power Solutions were recently awarded the Queen Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity. The award was given in recognition of the very successful apprenticeship programme that the company has been operating for a number of years. The programme aims to communicate the benefits of apprenticeships, promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and work within the local community to provide accessible training, career opportunities, and an alternative to further education.

Natasha Pitts is a Higher Apprentice with Dale Power. Natasha says,

“I started as an Advanced Apprentice in Engineering, after completing my A-Levels at 6th Form. After 3 years, I have now progressed through as a Higher Apprentice, completing a Foundation Degree with Hull University, fully funded by Dale, for which I received a First. Going the Apprenticeship route has given me fantastic on the job experience and allowed me to earn whilst I learned! And it’s good for the business too. Working with apprentices, Dale Power have reduced the average age of their workforce by ten years. That’s good news for the future of Dale, and my future career in Electrical Design is bright too.”


Fera Science – Philippa Hobby, Business Change Manager

“Fera Science is proof that apprenticeships harness new talent that bring innovative ideas, enabling us to continue to deliver our world-class science, whilst also developing the next generation of scientists. Recruiting talent through apprenticeships is central to our growth strategy for the future.

“Since 2013, Fera has taken on over 40 Laboratory Technician apprentices, many of whom have secured permanent positions at the end of their apprenticeship at Fera. This year, apprentices at Fera have started the Level 4 BTEC HNC in Applied Biology with Leeds City College and Fera also launched a Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship, with York St John University. Fera are proud of our apprenticeship programme, and of the apprentices who have completed this with us. We encourage our apprentices to apply original thinking to their work, and to cultivate a high quality broad science skill set to deliver world class Science, providing them with a solid foundation for their future career.

“In recognition of the commitment by Fera to its apprenticeship programme, we won Large Employer of the Year at the York Apprenticeship Awards in 2017.   The annual York Apprenticeship Graduation & Awards Ceremony celebrates hard work and dedication and the success of award winners across a host of categories.” 

This year Andrew Swift, Chief Executive at Fera, will discuss how Fera continually invests in world class facilities and people, to respond to opportunities, events and emerging markets, constantly delivering innovation and the key role apprenticeships play. One of our current apprentices, Laura Faulkner, now starting her studying for her level 6 (degree) apprenticeship, will also be speaking at this year’s event to discuss her qualification and experience at Fera so far.


Catherine Windross, Managing Director, Ryedale Plasterers

Ryedale Plasterers are a small, family business based in North Yorkshire. Established in 1982, Ryedale Plasterers are regarded as experts in the restoration of original plaster features, with an enviable reputation for excellence. With over 100 years of experience between them, the second and third generation skilled craftsman in the business have built up a large range of historically accurate and modern moulds. These, along with their bespoke mould-making skills, enable them to create brilliantly ornamental embellishments and to carry out authentic restorations of original work. A few years ago, Catherine faced a serious threat to her business through a shortage of skills in the local area. Drawing on the tradition of passing on skills through hands-on, practical application, Catherine invested time in finding the right apprentices who could learn from her experienced team and expand the life and capacity of the business. Catherine says,

“Around 6 years ago, Jack started as an apprentice and is now fully trained up, having completed Level 3 NVQ in fibrous plastering & Level 3 NVQ construction Heritage plastering. We also now have Joe, who is working towards a Level 2 in Plastering on day release to college. Our apprentices are able to learn these incredibly specialist skills from the best in the business, and earn money whilst doing it. It’s great for them, and also for our business. We’re a tight team and we can continue to look forward to a bright future, knowing that we’re growing the skills base we need to draw upon for our work.”


Graham Ratcliffe, Managing Director, Northern Regeneration CIC – Scarborough Construction Skills Village

Scarborough Construction Skills Village is attached to a large housing construction site in the coastal town of Scarborough. The skills village replicates a safe site environment with classrooms and canteens in porta-cabins, a practical skills based approach to learning in an environment which is as close to the real work environment as is possible to achieve. Apprenticeships in joinery, brickwork, groundwork, and maintenance operations are offered through the Skills Village. Graham, says,

“The benefits for apprentices are obvious. They leave their training absolutely site ready and very familiar with a site and the reality of a construction environment, giving them the best possible start in industry. The skills they learn here are the skills that the construction industry have told us they need, to the standard they want.

“For construction employers, apprenticeships are the smart way to go if you want to grow your business organically and sustainably. It takes time and up-front investment, but you can ensure that the apprentices are trained to your standards, in the skills you need. You can create a loyal and highly skilled workforce that will serve your business for the long term.”

Northern Regeneration CIC have recently won funding to support individuals to train in construction skills and move into the industry. To find out more about this opportunity and apprenticeships, visit the website here:

Gareth Edmunds, External Affairs Director, Sirius Minerals

With first production due from the Sirius Woodsmith Mine in 2021, the company has committed to building a long-term workforce by creating opportunities across the local area. Sirius Minerals, who already have apprentices in office based roles, have just announced a programme of 50 four year-long apprenticeships for Advanced Engineering Technicians. Working with the Tees Valley training provider, TTE Technical Training Group, these programmes are the embodiment of the company’s commitment to encourage young people into STEM careers.

Gareth Edmunds, says,

“We’re delighted to be announcing this programme and delivering on our commitments to provide 50 apprenticeships in this phase. This builds on the extensive engagement we already do with schools and colleges to help encourage young people into careers focused on science, technology, engineering or maths. As well as being an exciting opportunity for young people, the benefit of this programme is to the business also, as we’re able to build a highly skilled, sustainable local workforce, to service the mine for the long term.”

To find out more about the 50 apprenticeships programme, visit the Sirius website here: . Applications are open until April 2019.




Jill Goyle, Apprentice Programme Lead, Nestle UK & I


“Nestlé has a long tradition in supporting apprenticeships as a key route to attracting new talent to our business. In more recent years, we have broadened our offering from engineering and manufacturing and embraced opportunities in areas such as finance, chartered management, supply chain and confectionery.

“As further Apprenticeship standards become available, we are looking to recruit and up-skill in key areas such as digital and data analysis.

“The traditional view of apprenticeships as being primarily for new entrants to the workforce no longer applies in the modern world. Apprenticeship standards, which crucially have been written by industry for industry, gives employers the flexibility to support employees at every stage of their career. With advances in technology and new business opportunities, the diverse and wide-ranging apprenticeship portfolio now offers great prospects for individuals at the start of their profession right through to up-skilling current employees to take the next step. Apprenticeships are a fantastic chance to continue learning and developing both personally and professionally.”

The online, interactive toolkit is live on our Growth Hub website, How’s Business. You can access it here.



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