College leads way on Apprenticeships

Liverpool Community College has safeguarded more than 500 jobs, through a deal which will see it become one of the country’s biggest providers of apprentice training.

First4Skills has become part of the wider organisation of the College as a result of a unique joint venture arrangement with Aspire Achieve Advance LLP.

The 17,000 student college has purchased the majority of the business of Ellesmere Port-based training provider First4Skills which earlier today was placed into administration – the business has a national client base, including a number of major high street retailers.

The deal means that the College will be responsible for the training of more than 10,000 apprentices in total – and safeguards 526 jobs at First4Skills.

“This is fantastic news for the city and for the College,” said College Principal Elaine Bowker. “As well as safeguarding the jobs of First4Skills’ people, it brings together the best practice of the public sector and the resources of the private sector to create an organisation which will be a market leader in apprenticeship training.

“It will mean we will be able to penetrate a much bigger market more effectively and quickly, which will benefit the College as a whole.”

Apart from becoming the College with the highest number of apprenticeships nationally, the Community College will rank as the fifth largest apprentice trainer of any kind in the country, while continuing to use the First4Skills name.

“This doesn’t mean that the College will be changing our community focus, which is one of our major strengths of the College,” added Vivienne Tyler, Chair of Governors. “It means that the College can better support the growing economy, playing a major role in driving Apprenticeships forward as a valued qualification for employers.”

The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “This has not only protected vital jobs in the city, it has led to the formation of one of the biggest training providers in the country. Through Liverpool Community College and First4Skills this city will now be leading the skills agenda nationwide, providing training for thousands of apprentices throughout the UK.”

Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram said: “Liverpool Community College is one of the key players in the public sector for training provision, with First4Skills under their leadership, we are seeing the formation of a private/public sector business which will be one of the UK’s top training organisations. This could have huge benefits for our city, leading to the creation of new jobs and economic growth as First4Skills grows.”