Meet some of AV Dawson’s adult apprentices being given their chance to shine

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A family man with more than a decade in the job, Chris Atkinson didn’t imagine his career would see him studying an apprenticeship.

But with the chance to pick up new skills and qualifications, the 31-year-old wasn’t going to skip the opportunity when it came along.

Now in a supervisory role at AV Dawson’s Port of Middlesbrough, he says: “This has been a brilliant opportunity and something I would never have dreamed of doing.”

Chris is among an increasing number of employees given the chance to upskill through apprenticeships.

Tamsin Edwards, group business development manager for Etc. for Business, says: “Apprenticeships are a great tool for employers to grow and develop their workforce, both through recruitment and the upskilling of existing staff.”

Part of the Education Training Collective, the team works with employers to help them understand and access the training opportunities, solutions and incentives available.

Many are unaware of the support on offer, and Tamsin says: “For some, navigating the changes, particularly in response to the economic impact of the pandemic, can be daunting.”

With increased incentive payments, extended by the chancellor in his spring Budget, and increases to cash bonuses for hiring adult apprentices launching in April, Tamsin said it is worth taking a look.

Chris is a great example of the potential benefits. Undertaking a team leader and supervisor apprenticeship, he recalls: “At first I was a bit apprehensive about the workload. With a young family it felt like a lot of commitment, but I’m glad I did it.”

He joined the company at 17 as a warehouse operative. “My manager must have seen something in me, as he has always pushed me forward,” he says.

Still working towards his apprenticeship as well as a level 3 ILM management qualification with Stockton Riverside College, he was promoted to automotive steel store co-ordinator/supervisor last year.

He adds: “For me, it all seemed to fall into place and I am truly thankful.”

Mark Wells, head of engineering at AV Dawson/Port of Middlesbrough, says: “As a family business with family at the heart of our values, we believe in developing our colleagues, raising aspirations and offering them the opportunity to progress.”

Etc. for Business helps employers develop their future growth plans through recruitment or development of their existing workforce with apprenticeships, commercial courses or sector-based work academies. Offering support from recruitment through to delivery, the team helps businesses identify the grants and incentives currently available. Email business@the-etc.ac.uk or call 01642 865581.