North East training group MCQ has seen a surge in post-GCSE enquiries as students across the region switch on to the many advantages of traineeships and apprenticeships over traditional academic courses.
MCQ, which runs vocational training and assessment facilities in Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Humberside and Yorkshire, has this week seen the highest level of interest in its courses from post-GCSE pupils for several years.
The group offers apprenticeships in several vocational areas including health and social care, customer service, children and young people services, business administration and management.
As well as a number of shorter courses, it also runs traineeships which better prepare people for the workplace and improve their employability through English and Maths training and work-based placements.
The increased interest in vocational courses MCQ is experiencing this year is mirrored nationally; with recent research suggesting a growing appetite among young people for training that boosts their employability over traditional academic courses.
A new study by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills shows that 54% of young people in the UK would take an apprenticeship if one were available to them. This figure rose to 66% when young people who were already employed but had received no training were questioned.
Guy Saxton, quality improvement manager at MCQ, said: “We’ve been inundated with enquiries from people who’ve just received their GCSE results this week and we’ve definitely seen a marked increase on previous years.
“We are finding that young people are becoming more attuned to the many benefits of apprenticeships and traineeships which can propel them into exciting and rewarding careers.
“Our message to students who perhaps didn’t get the GCSE results that they had hoped for is to get in touch as there are other options available to them away from the tradition college route which can provide them with an excellent start to their careers”.
One young person who is already reaping the rewards of MCQ’s training is Rochelle Monte, from Newcastle, who now has a flourishing career in the home care sector after doing an apprenticeship with the group, having previously received GCSE results below her expectations.
Rochelle, who now has aspirations to work in advocacy on behalf of vulnerable adults, said: “During my apprenticeship with MCQ I researched all the key topics thoroughly that I needed to handle issues in the workplace and with the knowledge I learned I have been able to follow procedures and deliver a better standard of care.”
Rachel Studley opted for a similar route after her GCSEs by taking advantage of MCQ’s training in the children’s care sector and is now deputy manager of an out of school club.
She said: “After leaving school, I thought my development had finished. However the personal benefits I received from the apprenticeship programmes have been remarkable and I will certainly promote this route to other employees.”
MCQ has received similarly glowing references from education watchdog Ofsted, with inspectors noting: “Staff are enthusiastic, well-qualified and have good occupational knowledge that they use successfully to engage learners. Learners enjoy their programmes and are highly motivated to progress to the next level of study, with assessors making learning interesting and challenging.”
For more information on MCQ’s courses and its new traineeship qualification visit: www.mcq.co.uk.