Apprenticeship training specialist JTL has opened yet another dedicated training centre – this time a significant investment in a new electrical centre on the campus at Mid-Kent College in Maidstone.
The official opening of the new centre was carried out by local MP Helen Grant who has recently been appointed as the new Chair of the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network. The opening took place in front of a large group of invited guests including staff from MidKent College, its Principal and Chief Executive Simon Cook and a substantial number of local employers who already have apprentices training at the centre.
The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network is a cornerstone of the Government’s strategy to achieve its ambitious targets for widening access to apprenticeships. The National Apprenticeship Service aims to increase the proportion of new apprenticeship starts by people from a Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority background to 20% by 2020. They also aim to boost the number of apprenticeship starts by people with a disability by 20% in the same time period. The network brings together employers from across a broad range of industries to share best practice and champion the benefits of widening participation in apprenticeships.
Helen Grant welcomed the opening of the new centre in her constituency: “I am delighted that we have more good news coming from MidKent College and that its partnership with JTL is already delivering life-changing opportunities for young people in Maidstone and The Weald. It was a pleasure to be able to be a part of the opening and to meet many of the inspiring apprentices and the JTL staff who will be running the centre.
“I really believe in the power of apprenticeships to drive up social mobility and to transform businesses. As the Chair of the Government’s Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network I am committed to ensuring that this chance is available to people of all backgrounds. I know that this new facility will provide hundreds of such opportunities over the years to come.
“I wish everyone involved with the centre huge success.”
At the opening, JTL Chief Executive Jon Graham said: “This centre is the latest of a number of centres and joint ventures we have launched in the last couple of years. In many cases, we work happily in partnership around the country with colleges of education, and we’re looking forward to developing our partnership with MidKent College. We see this as a model for future opportunities, where we can work closely alongside colleges, with both of us doing what we do best to enhance the overall apprenticeship experience for the young people and employers in an area. This centre in Maidstone is an important step forward for us, and we’re delighted with the response the centre has already had from the electrical sector employers and young people in this part of Kent.”
JTL already has nine electrical streams of apprentices working in the new centre – with over 140 learners already benefiting from the new centre in Maidstone. That number will rise to over 200 over the next two years. Electrical training has been taking place in the new centre since September.
The Maidstone centre is the latest addition to a series of centres around the UK which JTL either owns or operates alongside a partner organisation including those at Birmingham, Orpington, Norwich, Yeovil, Culham, near Oxford and Langley Mill near Nottingham. Jon Graham added: “I am personally very proud of these centres and delighted with the progress we’re making as an organisation. You should not be surprised if that list of locations where we have JTL centres is a little longer by this time next year! This centre and the work we do at JTL across England and Wales, is very much about building futures and changing lives.”
Indeed JTL’s presence in Kent will be expanding still further shortly with plans well advanced to open a new centre in Ashford in the New Year.