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Government EOP Funding MPs Visit Freedom

MPs visit Freedom to see the Higher UC Scheme Apprentices who received £2m Government (EOP) funding from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

Apprentices now six months into new initiative, which received Government EOP funding

Watford, UK, 9th February 2015 – On 29 January, IT and unified communications systems integrator Freedom Communications welcomed Minister of State at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills Matthew Hancock MP at its Watford headquarters, to meet six apprentices who are part of a new Higher UC Apprentice Scheme, part-funded by the Government.

The Higher UC Apprentice Scheme was launched by Freedom in May 2014, in partnership with West Herts College, to address the growing skills gap in the communications sector. The £2m investment has received Government Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) funding from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

Accompanied by Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, Matthew Hancock MP talked to the young adults, who are six months into the new scheme, about their experience of the new apprenticeship scheme and progress towards their new IT-focused career.

The Freedom apprentice scheme has been designed to fulfil a number of core objectives:

  • Benefit the wider business community through the delivery of a sustainable talent pipeline, driving involvement and encouraging participation across the sector and local networks by taking ownership of skills
  • Provide an existing workforce with the opportunity to future-proof career prospects through the development of new technological skills
  • Create a dynamic workplace to attract, retain and develop talent

Through early engagement with schools, Freedom is also guiding and motivating younger students to progress a career in next generation technologies, and working alongside Further Education establishments to deliver high-demand technical and business skills and work experience opportunities.

“When Freedom outlined their training needs it was clear that a higher level apprenticeship tailored to the company’s specific needs was the route to take. Providing a pipeline of candidates was the next step, so we adapted our BTEC IT course at the College to include additional Microsoft modules. Now there’s a ready-made source of suitably prepared applicants for Freedom Communications to select from every year. The students are delighted to have the option of a hi-tech apprenticeship with a dynamic local employer, and the programme attracts many of our best students, with several opting for it over a place at university.”

Gill Worgan, Principal, West Herts College’s

“Having identified the growing skills gap within our industry, Freedom is delighted to have the support of HM Government’s Employer Ownership Funding in the creation of a sustainable talent pipeline. Through this project, Freedom will develop a unique technical workforce that will help drive business and economic growth.”

Lisa Clark, Operations Director