Apprenticeship Ambassadors are businesses and organisations which sign up to actively promote and celebrate apprenticeships in Chesterfield and their benefits in strengthening the workforce. Chesterfield is the first town in the UK to declare itself an ‘Apprentice Town’, demonstrating a commitment to growing the careers of young people alongside the economy. Chesterfield Borough Council is at the forefront of the Apprentice Town initiative which, with support from Ambassadors, is raising awareness of apprenticeships and advocating cooperative working across the education, business and learning community.
Heathcotes’ first engagement as an Ambassador was a headline speech at the Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Employability and Skills Conference, held at the Ringwood Hall Hotel & Spa, where Managing Director Brendan Kelly spoke about the importance of embedding apprenticeship and skills initiatives into workforce development strategies to facilitate business growth. Heathcotes Group specialises in person-centred residential care for adults with learning disabilities, mental health needs and associated challenging behaviours. The company has been developing local employment through an award-winning apprenticeship programme involving sector-based work academies established in partnership with Chesterfield College.
Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, Cllr Tricia Gilby, who opened proceedings at the conference, said:
“One of the council’s priorities is to ensure that local people benefit from the economic growth that we are seeing in Chesterfield, which is why, with our partners, we established Chesterfield as an Apprentice Town. It has been wonderful to hear Brendan highlight the importance of developing the skills of your workforce and to learn about the value Apprenticeships have brought to a growing organisation like the Heathcotes Group. We are delighted that the Heathcotes Group has chosen to join the Town’s Apprenticeship Ambassador Network to help raise awareness of the benefits of Apprenticeships in our community. “
Brendan Kelly said:
“Heathcotes are uniquely placed to advocate Chesterfield apprenticeships as an Apprenticeship Ambassador. Our work-based learning formula has achieved almost 600 apprenticeship starts over the past five years, including staff at our Chesterfield head office and numerous support workers at our services throughout this region. It has been been a fundamental part of Heathcotes’ sustained growth in a sector which is currently facing a number of challenges. I believe that apprenticeships are enormously important to grow the local economy and we are keen to help establish Chesterfield as a town where young people, parents and businesses think apprenticeship first.