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Apprentices celebrated for achievements through pandemic

Apprentice Tia James with Chief Executive Tony Parkinson and Mayor Andy Preston

A group of apprentices from Middlesbrough Council have been celebrated for their achievements and overcoming the challenges of the covid pandemic.

An event was held in the Town Hall Crypt to mark the success of the apprentices’ final end point assessment at which Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and council Chief Executive Tony Parkinson – himself a former apprentice – gave speeches.

Mr Preston told the room that while there were great challenges in the world right now, there remained great opportunities.

Around 90% of those completing their assessments with Middlesbrough Council achieved either a merit or distinction grade.

Among those celebrated was Tia James – an Education Champion Apprentice from Middlesbrough Virtual School who is working in the Council’s Children’s Services department.

She said: “Life is going to throw good and bad things at you but if you choose to work hard you can always move on and have a reason to smile.

“My apprenticeship has helped me get a foot in the door with Children's Services. It is so hard to get a role in Children’s Services at my age as they usually look for experienced staff but my apprenticeship helps me get the experience whilst doing the job.

“Staff have helped me with guidance so I know what I'm doing and I'm confident doing it too.”

Carole Thorpe, the Apprenticeship Co-ordinator, said: “I am in awe of the apprentices and the team who have worked so hard to achieve such fabulous results.

“They have overcame the challenges that the Covid Pandemic brought and against all odds, completed their apprenticeships with fantastic results.

“This is an amazing achievement considering many apprentices moved jobs to help provide the essential services for vulnerable residents throughout lockdown.”

Chief Executive Tony Parkinson said: “I think an apprenticeship provides a great platform for gaining key employment skills and proving to prospective employers that you are ‘work-ready’ – it’s a real alternative to purely academic routes.

“I still work for Middlesbrough Council 31 years after I began my apprenticeship so it’s fair to say that my apprenticeship shaped the whole of my working life.”

If you are interested in doing an apprenticeship through Middlesbrough Council or you are an employer interested in employing an apprentice, please contact Paul Greatorex on paul_greatorex@middlesbrough.gov.uk or telephone 01642 728739.