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Minister for Apprenticeships visits Gloucestershire College

Gloucestershire College marked National Apprenticeship Week and International Women's Day with a VIP ceremony at its Gloucester campus, when Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Anne Milton, spoke to staff and apprentices.

She presented the further and higher education college with a prestigious apprenticeship award - the AoC Beacon Award for the Promotion and Delivery of Successful Apprenticeships, due to its innovative apprenticeships programme.

The award judges were impressed by the success rates of the college's apprenticeship provision, which is well above the national average. The college was also acknowledged for expanding the breadth of its apprenticeship provision and working responsively with local employers, the community, schools and business organisations.

Anne Milton said: "I was thrilled to meet apprentices at Gloucestershire College and to present the college with their well-deserved award for outstanding apprenticeship provision - they should be very proud. National Apprenticeship Week may be over for this year but every week needs to be about apprentices. We will continue to make sure everyone knows how amazing apprenticeships can be. Whatever your background and wherever you come from, they change lives and change business for the better."

Gloucester MP, Richard Graham, said: "When I go around the city, I find apprentices with real confidence. We should all be proud of our great apprentices, their employers and trainers like Gloucestershire College."

Matthew Burgess, principal and chief executive of Gloucestershire College, said: "To be recognised nationally for our work in this area reflects not only the outstanding outcomes for the apprentices themselves, but also the impact on the employers' businesses and the way that the college responds to employer needs in this area.

After speaking at the ceremony, the minister took a tour of the college and met several current students, including engineering apprentices Fleur Roberts and George Underwood.

Despite the number of apprenticeship starts being down nationally by 61 per cent, Gloucestershire College's apprenticeship starts increased by 32 per cent, with an overall success rate of 84 per cent (national average 67 per cent in 2015-16).

Gloucestershire College works with over 600 employers from small and medium sized businesses, to locally-based, globalised organisations including Superdry, the NHS, Stuart Holmes Salon, Ellenborough Park Hotel, Poeton Industries and Amey.

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