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National Apprenticeship Week – London South Bank University celebrates nursing apprentices fighting Covid-19 pandemic on NHS frontline

London South Bank University (LSBU) is marking National Apprenticeship Week 2021 by celebrating coming second out of all leading higher education apprenticeship providers in England.

LSBU has retained second place overall for the past three years as one of the leading higher education apprenticeship providers in England according to apprenticeship provider data collated by the Department for Education.

LSBU is also taking part in a virtual ‘Ask the Apprentice’ Panel on 9 February, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Apprenticeships. The event provides parliamentarians with an opportunity to meet and speak directly with apprentices, while also learning more about apprenticeship delivery in England.

The University is expanding its apprenticeship offering further this year. South Bank Colleges, part of the LSBU Group of local educational institutions, will offer apprenticeships in engineering and healthcare, from September 2021. These apprenticeships will focus on delivering levels 2 and 3 to young applicants. As the sponsor University, LSBU’s role will be to ensure these apprenticeships are high quality and meet the needs of both employers and apprentices;

LSBU currently offers a variety of apprenticeships with employer sponsors, across a range of sectors – from building services, engineering and chartered planning to nursing, screen skills, rail engineering, technical acoustics and digital marketing.

The University’s top six apprenticeship categories in 2020 were:

  • Surveying (Building and Quantity Surveying) – 543 apprentices;
  • Health and Social Care – 484 apprentices (including 200 Nursing Associates);
  • Building Services- 314 apprentices;
  • Planning- 139 apprentices;
  • Architecture – 116 apprentices;
  • Digital Marketing – 49 apprentices.

In 2020 LSBU introduced six construction standards at levels 4 and 6. LSBU became the first English university to launch levels 5 and 6 apprenticeships in Rail and Rail Systems Engineering, working with employers such as Network Rail, Transport for London, WSP and Siemens.

Lauren Smithers, 22 years old, currently a second-year (BA) Digital Marketing trainee in LSBU’s Business School, on a Digital Marketer apprenticeship with Pearson Plc, said: “I was searching for jobs online and came across an apprenticeship. Once I started to look into it further, I knew it was the route for me as I struggled with being in education full-time.

“I needed more hands-on experience, as I tend to learn best while doing something practical. I applied for the job online, then had a phone and face to face interview with a recruitment company, before an assessment day with the hiring company.

“During the lockdown, LSBU made themselves available to help out at all hours, which has been fantastic for me due to an increased workload. They work really closely with my employer to make sure I have everything I need to complete this apprenticeship successfully.”

Sammy Shummo, Group Director of Apprenticeships at LSBU, said: “In spite of immense challenges posed to UK employers by the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, LSBU has succeeded in holding onto a position in the top three higher education apprenticeship providers in England. The University is also on track to have over 2000 apprentices enrolled by early 2021.

“As LSBU Group embarks on its strategy for next year we look forward to working with employers, local communities and stakeholders to have 10,000 apprentices enrolled with the Group by 2025.

“LSBU is proud to be supporting apprentices from all backgrounds with over half identifying as BAME, 11% having declared a disability and around 10% from the most deprived parts of the country.”

“Our apprentices distinguished themselves last year by winning numerous awards in the fields of Civil Engineering, Construction and Architecture.”