National Apprenticeship Week 2016


It’s that wonderful time of the year again where we celebrate apprenticeships and positive impacts they have on individuals, businesses and the economy. National Apprenticeship Week (NAW 2016) runs from 14th to the 18th March and the key themes are: “An apprenticeship can take you anywhere”, with a focus on higher skills to show how young people, entrepreneurs and businesses can “rise to the top” through traineeships and apprenticeships. To celebrate NAW2016 Northern Apprenticeships & Business Training are shining the spotlight on two superb apprentice employers and their apprentices.




TBA Textiles Ltd is a Leading Manufacturer of High Performance, Industrial Textiles based in Rochdale. TBA have over 140 years experience in the manufacture of industrial textile products has and this has enabled them to become one of the world leaders in the field of high performance, heat resistant textiles for arduous applications. In 2012, TBA underwent a full factory move to more modern premises, ideally located for the motorway network. Many of TBA Textiles’ employees have long service records, leading to a build up of knowledge of applications, products and processes.







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Dylan, Abigail and Andrew all used Northern Apprenticeships’ free service to find their apprenticeships. They all started work with TBA Textiles in 2015 and they have really made a positive impact with their enthusiasm and desire to learn new skills. Duncan Mawson, the Finance Manager at TBA Textiles said “With the appointment of a new General Manager in Feb 2015 it was decided that providing places for apprentices would be good for TBA Textiles, particularly as we had an older than average workforce at that time.”

By taking on a number of new apprentices, TBA Textile’s perceived aging workforce has been injected with young, enthusiastic workers. These new apprentices will absorb the knowledge passed down from the establish members of staff and will be able to grow into their roles with the combined knowledge handed down in the workplace as well as knowledge taught in the classroom as they study towards their qualification.



Healthwork Ltd is recognised as the most innovative provider of Occupational Health Solutions in the UK.  A doctor led organisation, the solutions they provide for each and every client are designed to meet their specific requirements. Their web based portal is a complete health system tool enabling both HR and line managers to have 24 hours access and input to the progress of all cases in which they are involved. All Healthwork solutions are supported by a first class customer service team who know and understand our clients’ needs.





















Brad has only been with Healthwork for around five months working as a Customer Service Advisor but already he has been given a promotion! Katie Scott, Brad’s line manager said “We were really impressed with Brad’s work and while it started as an apprentice role, this rapidly grew into a more complex role that was more aligned to our established staff members, so we gave Brad an immediate promotion.” A delighted Brad said “this promotion made me very happy and came as a big surprise. Needless to say it made me feel very grateful and confident about my future with Healthwork.”

Before I got this apprenticeship I had a full time job, but I just didn’t see a good future for me in that particular role. So I took a step back, and decided that an apprenticeship will give me the opportunity to get qualified while in the workplace and give me a brighter future.” (Brad Knox, Apprentice Customer Service Advisor)

Apprenticeships are playing a big role at Healthwork Ltd where providing high quality customer service is vital and apprentices can be trained to fulfil the employer’s needs. Katie Scott explained “I love the idea of using home-grown talent to fill the skills gaps in our company. I find apprentices to be mouldable and we can easily integrate them into our corporate culture.” In fact, during our discussion Katie went on to reveal that two of Healthwork’s team leaders started as apprentices before achieving their promotions.




In 2015, Craggs Energy CEO Chris Bingham made the decision to launch the first Craggs Energy Apprentice Academy; he comments “We’re only a young company but we are growing very fast, we have identified that as we grow we need to keep adding to our talent, because of this we have invested heavily in the academy. If it works as we expect we hope it is something that we will be able to run every year!”

Northern Apprenticeships was approached by Craggs Energy to assist and advise on the set up of their brand new Apprentice Academy, and to source a training provider to deliver the apprenticeships. Craggs Energy went on to recruit 7 new apprentices and with the help of Northern Apprenticeships, partnered with The Skills Company as the training provider.

Steven and Dino were extremely helpful in the set up of our Academy. They understood our concerns with certain qualifications and our challenges in setting up an Apprenticeship for the first time, helping us where necessary.  (Becky Neville, Programme Manager)

The 12 month scheme will provide the apprentices with commercial business skills, a sales qualification and a guaranteed job within the company upon completion of the course. During the year the apprentices will be exposed to all elements of the business including sales, finance, operations and marketing. A purpose built training and office space has been created for the Academy, ensuring a suitable professional working and training environment for the apprentices.

Craggs Energy was nominated as a finalist in the Apprenticeships 4 England Award in the 11 – 100 employers category due to their outstanding commitment to apprenticeships.

Becky Neville, Programme Manager said “Tasked with finding fresh talent to steer the future growth of the business, Craggs Energy considered alternative methods of recruitment and questioned whether hiring from within the industry was always the right thing to do. Hiring industry newcomers sets a fresh pairs of eyes on the business, encouraging alternative thinking and removing the risk of any retained industry bad habits. We recognise that operating on a person-fit basis is the most effective method, aligning personal values with those of company- trust, integrity, professionalism, innovation and customer focus. With the right person-fit in our company, we can grow and nurture our own talent in house in ‘The Craggs Way’.

We decided that the most advantageous way to gain a real understanding of the business and how it operates is to establish an environment whereby new recruits can gain exposure across all departments in the business, whilst learning and training simultaneously. Investing in talent development via a sales academy was an ideal format for shaping our future sales force and driving the growth of the business.”

Northern Apprenticeships would like to congratulate all our apprentice employers for their commitment and dedication to providing their apprentices with the skills, training and respect they need to have a successful future. It is a pleasure to see apprenticeships having such a positive impact on businesses, individuals and the wider economy and we wish many more years of success.

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