Chesterfield Skills

Financial support offered for Derbyshire residents to retrain for alternative energy sector

A unique opportunity to retrain in the field of alternative energy has opened up in Chesterfield and Derbyshire with the launch of the County Council’s Green Entrepreneurs Scholarship Scheme.

The local authority has set aside a £100,000 fund offering grants of up to £1,500 to help Derbyshire residents learn new skills in the alternative energy industry.

It’s part of the wider Green Entrepreneurs Programme which is funded by the council and run in partnership with the University of Derby to help support green economic recovery across Derbyshire.

The leader of Derbyshire County Council, Barry Lewis added: “We’ve had a positive response to the Green Entrepreneurs Fund so far from businesses looking for financial support to help turn game changing proposals to help tackle climate change into reality.

“As well as helping to reduce Derbyshire’s carbon emissions in the future, by helping these projects get off the ground we’re bringing wider benefits to local communities and local economic conditions to create high quality jobs driven by utilising the local skills base in engineering and manufacturing.

“We’re looking forward to announcing the successful applicants soon for funding announced so far, as well as opening up applications for our new Scholarship Fund which will help to skill-up the alternative energy workforce of tomorrow.”

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “It is vital that we all play our part in helping the UK to achieve its net zero targets and the appetite within Derbyshire to meet this challenge head-on is hugely encouraging.

“It is not just about providing financial support, however, but enabling people to develop their skillset to deliver the change we need.

“As a university, empowering people with the knowledge and ability to have a positive impact on our economy and society is central to our purpose. We therefore welcome the launch of the Scholarship Scheme, which will help employees within our SME sector to make important contributions to carbon reduction and equip them with highly-valued skills.”

Find out more information about the Green Entrepreneurs Programme including application forms, timetable for grant funding and eligibility criteria at:

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Partnership agreement will develop the next generation of construction experts

Construction company Robert Woodhead Limited (part of the Woodhead Group) and Chesterfield College have entered into an agreement to work together on a range of initiatives to help the next generation discover more about careers in construction and develop the skills they need.

The Learning Partnership Agreement builds on the long-standing relationship between the two organisations. It formalises the way they will work together in the future, building on the successful apprenticeship and work experience schemes they already have in place. It also introduces some new initiatives which will bring more work experience and training opportunities, taster days for school pupils and work around encouraging women into construction.

Janine Borderick, People Development Director at Robert Woodhead Ltd said:

“This agreement is really important to help us grow the talent we need for the future. This will help us to reach people outside of our apprenticeship programme. We want to share our experience of the industry with people and give them an introduction to the wide range of career paths that are available in construction. We want people to come and see what we do and, together with the college, we will be shouting about the opportunities there are to work in the industry.”

Aaron Wathall, is 4 months into his Level 3 Built Environment Technical apprenticeship with Robert Woodhead Ltd. During his day of study at the college he witnessed the signing of the agreement. He explained how the company are helping him to discover all the opportunities available in the construction industry and shape his career. He said:

“I am really enjoying my apprenticeship. It is really diverse. I am learning about different aspects of construction, meeting people from across the company and gaining a lot more confidence. I have had support from everyone from IT to Site Managers. They have showed me new things and been really patient. Someone is always there to answer my questions.”

Terry Brickles, Curriculum Operations Manager for Construction said:

“Robert Woodhead Ltd have always valued the education and training we offer to provide them with a skilled workforce. They know that by working alongside us to support school and college students we will be able to pool resources to encourage the next generation into construction. I am excited about the initiatives we have planned and I look forward to helping more construction experts of the future develop the skills they need to be successful.”

Chesterfield College and Woodhead Group support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield College asks creative businesses to join their campaign to highlight how Creativity Pays

Chesterfield College is calling for creative businesses across Derbyshire to join their campaign to highlight how crucial creative skills are for the economy, our communities and our wellbeing.

The campaign, Creativity Pays, will showcase creative businesses and careers as well as connect the community to support local makers and creatives. It also aims to encourage people to develop the skills the creative industries sector in our region need for the future.

Pre-pandemic the creative industries sector in the UK was enjoying a boom and growing faster than any other sector. Jobs were growing at 2.7 times the national average, and the sector contributed £13.2m/hour to the economy (source: DCMS 2019).

Importantly, designers, filmmakers, actors, photographers, journalists, publishers, musicians have all played a role in supporting us through the challenges we have faced as a society during the pandemic. Whether that is through bringing us news, crucial information or keeping us entertained as we stayed at home.

Over the last year, the creative industries sector has been hit hard by the pandemic. However, there are many who believe this sector will form a crucial part of our recovery and will help us build back for the future.

Julie Richards, Principal and CEO of The Chesterfield College Group said: “This initiative provides us with a unique opportunity to highlight how important creative industries are for our region. As a college with a strong history in developing creative skills and supporting creative businesses, we are at the forefront of developing the skills required for a career in the sector. This campaign provides us with the opportunity to celebrate creative careers, the success of our students and the creative businesses in Derbyshire who are so important for our local economy which in turn will encourage others to develop their creative skills.”

Talking about why he feels Creativity Pays, former Chesterfield College art student and successful artist Peter Barber said: “I have built my career doing something I love over the last 25 years since leaving college. I have worked in the community and now I am a commercial artist. I believe creative careers are so important. When you look at almost anything there is in the world around you, it literally started life with someone with a pencil. We are lucky enough in Britain that creative industries are strong and people want to create and work here. My work in advertising had a bit of a resurgence after the last lockdown and I think we will see that happen again. We are in a good place for the future.”

The college is inviting people to get involved in the campaign in a number of ways including:
• Tell the story of how creativity pays for you on social media using #creativitypays
• Shout about the local creative businesses you love and add them to their Creativity Pays directory #creativederbyshire

Find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at

Chesterfield College supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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NLT forms partnership with leading joint integrity training provider

NLT Training Services has expanded its training provision to now include joint integrity training at its Chesterfield and Scunthorpe centres.

The addition of joint integrity training follows a new partnership with specialist joint integrity management and training provider Zulu Joint Integrity and Training Limited, which is part of the Phoenix Group.

Based in Bridgend in Wales, the partnership with NLT now gives Zulu two locations in England from which to deliver its training.

Nine new joint integrity courses have now been added to NLT Training Services’ training portfolio, specifically:

• BS EN 1591-4:2013
• ECITB MJI10/MJI11 and Technical units
• Energy Institute Guidelines
• Pipework – Breaking Containment
• Human Error / Human Factors
• Gasket & Sealing Technology
• Valve training for Process Operators
• Safe Isolation of Process Plant (HSG253)
• Introduction to Internal Auditing (QMS)

NLT and Zulu anticipate high demand for the training particularly in the Humberside area where there is a concentration of oil and gas, chemical, petrochemical, power, steel making and process industries.

All joint integrity training courses are aligned to industry best practice and provide a blend of sealing technology and practical elements associated with flange assembly. The courses provide delegates with the knowledge and practical skills required for dismantling and assembling flanged connections in pipelines as used in the process industry, particularly high hazardous industries.

Sarah Temperton, Chief Executive of NLT Training Services commented: “We’re delighted to announce our partnership with Zulu. It’s an exciting time for both businesses and we’re very much looking forward to expanding our joint training offering as our relationship develops.”
Christopher Mellows, Managing Director of Zulu Joint Integrity and Training Limited added: “This exciting new partnership not only allows Zulu to have a base within Humberside to support local businesses with their joint integrity, but also gives NLT a whole new range of courses to be delivered at its wonderful training centres.”

To find out more about the new range of NLT joint integrity training courses, or to make a booking please call 0333 880 3540 or visit

NLT Training Services supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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New report sets out the region’s skills strengths and actions to address the skills needs in the wake of Covid-19

A new report from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has highlighted the need for action to make sure everyone has the skills which will allow them to get good jobs, both now and in the future —and how it will also help the region address other issues from climate change to regional inequality.

With just over a year since the UK went into lockdown, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire, further exposing the persistent productivity gap and skills lag in the region and with employment losses more pronounced than many parts of the UK.

The rapidly increasing demand for new technological and digital skills – central to the region’s aspiration for low carbon and inclusive growth and essential to remote working and access to upskilling in our rural communities – were already having unsettling consequences for the local economy before the pandemic.

While the impact of Covid-19 has been uneven with the most significant impacts to service, manufacturing, hospitality and retail, there is clear evidence that recent progress across the region in increasing skills and employment levels may be slowed or reversed without the introduction of effective measures at both a national and local level.

The D2N2 LEP, in its capacity as organiser of the regions Skills Advisory Panel (SAP), has brought together employers, skills providers and key local stakeholders to better understand and resolve these skill mismatches at a local level and make recommendations for change.

The D2N2 Local Skills Report will be essential to the regions skills recovery to offset these challenges and ‘building back better’. It will require business leaders, educators, and national and regional governments to come together and collaborate to build more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies. The report is a catalyst for action to help those who have been made redundant or at risk of unemployment and support young people and businesses that have been disproportionately affected.

Government: Provide funding continuity; increase access to reskilling; increase SAPs’ role in skills provision and funding.
Post-16 Skills Providers: Coordinate with our priorities; build collaborative skills pathways; embed digital and low carbon skills in all learning pathways.
Schools: Provide senior support of Careers activity; promote higher technical skills pathways; embed careers inspiration and core digital skills in the curriculum.
Local Authorities: Support our strategy in your areas; continue collaborating with us and each other; facilitate relationships between local employers and schools.
Employers and BROs: Make skills core to recovery and growth planning; engage with the skills system to develop the future workforce; support your workers in retraining, reskilling and upskilling.

Professor Shearer West CBE, Chair of the D2N2 People and Skills Board, said: “This report showcases the work of D2N2 in People and Skills, by providing an overview of our strategy and an assessment of progress to date. As SAP Chair, I feel it is vital to ensure that our growing knowledge of trends and challenges affecting jobs and skills in D2N2 reaches the widest possible audience. This will help us drive necessary change both locally and nationally, as well as providing the leadership and focus for strategic responses with genuine impact. I would like to thank our colleagues at the University of Derby, who partnered with the D2N2 LEP on the development of this report, as well as all the partners in the D2N2 area who have contributed to it.”

Rachel Quinn, Head of People of Skills at D2N2 LEP, said: “This report’s aim is simple, to help improve the chances of our people in securing the jobs and careers to which they aspire, a crucial element in driving up their quality of life, and for our businesses to find the skills they need to grow and compete in an increasingly global economy. Our report set out the local strengths and skills needs and how the SAP proposes its area addresses its key priorities, identifies, and delivers on its priorities.

“The DfE’s recent White Paper set out a number of reforms aimed at putting employers more firmly at the heart of the skills system. As we develop our local response to the White Paper, our SAP and our Local Skills Report will be vital for coordinating the region’s skills response as our economy recovers.”

The full report can be accessed via


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Funding available for Chesterfield businesses to take on remote-working interns

Small businesses in Chesterfield and Derbyshire can receive up to £7,000 in funding and support to recruit remotely-based student and graduate talent into their workforce.

The rise in remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic means the University is now able to work with more businesses than ever before, including those who previously may not have had the office space to accommodate a graduate.

The opportunities are provided by the GRADS for D2N2 project which is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and is part of the ESF High-Level Skills programme.

ESF supports activities to extend employment opportunities and develop a skilled workforce. The GRADS for D2N2 project is delivered by the University of Derby as part of the High Level Skills consortium which also includes Nottingham Trent University, Derby College, Nottingham College, and Nottingham City Council.

Chesterfield small business (SME) owner Rebecca Erskine, owner of Yellow Bird Marketing and Communications recounted the benefits of working alongside the University after taking on a graduate, Maciej Rus and current University of Derby student, Freya Padmore.

The team put together a series of remotely-filmed videos showcasing the virtues of remote working and the importance of internships as a way for students and graduates to gain “a competitive edge” and “apply the skills learnt at the University to the workplace.”

Rebecca said: “I recently took on two interns from the University of Derby. I think it is really important that the University, regardless of its name, supports businesses across the county of Derbyshire and that is the benefit of this particular programme.

“I think that when people are hard-working, they deserve real opportunity in life. Very often there are things that sit on the back-burner as far as your business is concerned.

“As a small business owner, obviously what brings in the money is the billable work and that has to be your priority, but it can’t be at the expense of business development or promoting your business so the interns coming into the project have really helped me make sure that I am looking at every element of the business. Remote working has given me the perfect opportunity to get the candidates that I really wanted for the project, regardless of where they’re based.”

Freya said: “Having experience that I can talk about in interviews and my applications gives me just that competitive edge compared to some other students who haven’t had any experience yet.

“I’m working in a really small team now so we can really bounce ideas off each other. It’s just given me a much better idea about what I want to do when I graduate.

“I don’t have to commute to work anymore. I can literally just sit at my desk and everything’s there that I need. I can literally log on whenever I want to, finish working when I want to, just based on when I feel like working.”

Support available to SMEs includes organisations needs assessments, talent grants, graduate internships, Employability and Apprenticeship workshops, curriculum co-design and more.

For more information please contact

The University of Derby supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through  Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.


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Celebrating Chesterfield’s STEM ambassadors

Educators, businesses and local authorities across Chesterfield have been working together in recent years, as part of efforts to encourage more students to consider further study of STEM subjects and progression into related careers, inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals.

To help with enthusing and engaging our young people, STEM Ambassadors volunteer their time and expertise to promote STEM to young people in original, creative and practical ways. They also work to support the STEM curriculum in schools, raising awareness of careers and supporting activities in the community. Ambassadors cross all ages and backgrounds, representing a vast spectrum of different employers.

Chesterfield businesses can get involved in supporting STEM careers in a number of ways:

  • Sign up as a STEM Ambassador at
  • offering tours of your workplace for students and teachers
  • delivering talks to groups of learners in schools about your organisation and job opportunities
  • mentoring students doing projects
  • networking with students and teachers
  • setting a project related to your sector
  • doing mock interviews
  • filming a video of you at your workplace
  • and much more!

What are the benefits of being a STEM Ambassador?

  • Engage and develop your employees
  • raise your profile within the local community, whilst also expanding your regional and national media presence
  • promote your apprentice roles directly to local schools and colleges
  • support your recruitment efforts, boosting your future technical and graduate pipeline
  • offer specific and sector careers information to young people and their influencers

Meet the Ambassadors

Here are a few examples of how STEM ambassadors are helping to drive forward the future workforce here in Chesterfield:

Name – Lindsay Rowe

Company – AECOM

Position in company – Senior Mechanical Engineer

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

To me, being a STEM ambassador is an opportunity to raise awareness of alternative careers, share my knowledge about the world of work and show young people that there really is something out there for everyone and there is more than one way to achieve your goal.

What it means for your business.

STEM ambassadors not only raise awareness of our industry in general, but they show students that they don’t have to move to London and the big cities to follow an exciting and rewarding career in engineering. Our company name and brand becomes more widely known and we get recognised as a company that students want to apply to when starting on the career ladder. Ultimately this makes it much easier for us to hire the people we need to continue growing our business.

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

I’m always happy and proud when I see children being inspired to think differently about the type of work they might like to do in the future. My proudest moment though was when I finally got to attend a careers event at my son’s school, he was the reason I started volunteering in the first place.

Name – Ann Fomukong-Boden

Company – Kakou CIC

Position in company – Co-Founder/Director/Principal Electronic Engineer

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

Being a STEM Ambassador is my opportunity to give back to my community and also encourage people to see how creative the STEM subjects are. I got into engineering through my love of music. The STEM subjects play a huge part in every aspect of our lives – even the fun things! I also like to challenge people’s stereotype of what an engineer is or looks like. Most people I meet rarely guess my profession from my appearance.

What it means for your business.

We have a community engagement programme called Social Fuse. We produce and facilitate creative-arts based STEM activities for our community. Social Fuse provides us with the opportunities to meet new people, build networks and collaborate on diverse, interesting projects that we may not have been aware of through our normal engineering activities. It brings variety to the business and we get to interact with young people, teachers, parents and organisations that we may have not otherwise encountered.

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

To be honest, I feel a sense of pride whenever I volunteer, especially when you see someone who is new to an activity suddenly have that moment where it all starts to make sense and they realise that they understand something that they previously thought was difficult.

A stand-out moment was being chosen by the British Science Association to be one of their inaugural Community Leaders in recognition of my time volunteering within the community. As part of that I went to the Houses of Parliament to give expert testimony at the APPG on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. That day I also discovered that the Houses of Parliament use some equipment that I had designed – which brought a smile to my face.


Name – Julie Eley

Company – Ready4Work/School of Thought

Position in company – Co-Founder

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

It is a privilege to engage with young people, not only to give them information about different careers but also to offer hope especially in uncertain times.

What it means for your business.

We have set up a project called School of Thought so we can promote the Automotive Industry to young People. If it wasn’t for STEM we wouldn’t be able to do this, so this helps us tell everyone about the great Industry we work in, dispel myths and to build the pipeline for the next generation of Employees

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

Letting Young People know that there are different routes and that University isn’t the only choice. Personally, seeing some students tell me about their project of building a go kart, and seeing how excited and knowledgeable they were, I found it really inspiring

Name – Emma Knight-Strong

Company – Green Arch Consulting

Position in company – Owner

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

I am proud to be a STEM ambassador. I am passionate about my field and want to ensure that young learners understand what skills they need to have in order to follow their own dreams. I personally believe that a STEM ambassador is a person who can use their enthusiasm for their chosen profession to inspire young people to think about the huge range of possibilities available to them if they continue in STEM subjects. It’s less ‘teaching them a specific job type’ and more about showing them how STEM can help them be resilient and adaptive to a constantly shifting job market.

What it means for your business.

 It allows more people to understand the type of business that I am in and introduces learners to a sector that is still relatively new

 The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

Having a teacher say to me that the three young girls who had been asking lots of questions usually never said a word in class and he was amazed at how engaged they were with the activity.

Name – Tom Mowbray

Company – Rolls-Royce

Position in company – Sub-System Design Engineer

What it means to be a STEM ambassador.

I find being a STEM Ambassador is a great excuse to share my excitement for Engineering with inquisitive minds. When I host STEM activities with kids it really is a two way exchange, whereby I’m sharing some insights about Engineering whilst setting challenges, and in return I get to see how young minds tackle the problem set. There’s some beautiful creativity that is quite inspiring.

What it means for your business.

“Our activities are designed to demonstrate the life-long opportunities that STEM careers can offer, helping to secure a future talent pipeline for ourselves and the wider industry. We hope that our education outreach programmes will inspire people to study the STEM subjects and show them the life-long opportunities that STEM careers can offer.”

The proudest moment you have had from volunteering your time

I have participated in a variety of activities with children aged 7-18; covering topics such as friction, power and motion in primary ages through to GCSE maths tutoring, careers days and A-level mentoring. The range of options to get involved and the overwhelmingly positive feedback makes me proud to be involved.

For more information about the STEM Ambassadors scheme, you can contact the Derbyshrie Education Business Partnership (DEBP) on 01246 212535 or visit their website:

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Conference hears how digital upskilling and a human-first approach is key to developing resilient post pandemic future workforce

With demand for digital skills increasing by 36% in the last 12 months, digital upskilling in schools, colleges and businesses will be key to Chesterfield thriving post pandemic. That was the message from leaders at this year’s Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Employability and Skills Conference.

At the virtual, live-streamed conference, it was revealed that the pandemic has brought digital skills to the forefront of work and education and opened up a number of exciting new employment opportunities in the low carbon economy.

Leaders speaking at the fifth annual conference stressed that collaboration between education providers and businesses is key to young people taking advantage of these opportunities post 16 and thriving in the workforce post pandemic.

Speaking at the conference Rachel Quinn, Head of People and Skills at D2N2 LEP said: “Covid has given us the impetus to push forward to use and develop technology to connect people and work better. However, we have to make sure that everyone can participate and make sure the connectivity exists and that everyone has the digital access and skills they need to succeed and thrive. Getting that connectivity right, for the economy and through into our education system is absolutely essential.”

Chesterfield College reported growth in the demand for digital skills in the area and has invested in a digital skills centre. James Lund, Interim Director of Sales at The Chesterfield College Group said: “Apprentice recruitment is starting to return to pre-Covid levels, and we anticipate digital skills being a growth area over the next two to three years. Similarly, we have also seen a growth in demand for apprenticeships in health and social care and construction.”

To ensure young people maximise the opportunities, headline speaker, author and former headteacher, Richard Gerver urged the conference to “look to our inner child in order to succeed and thrive in a post pandemic workforce.”

He said: “By changing our mindset and encouraging people to meet change and uncertainty with curiosity, awe, wonder and questioning rather than fear, young people will see the opportunities rather than obstacles.”

He warned of the long-term impact of change and uncertainty on the self-esteem of young people and urged people to remember the importance of softer skills alongside technical skills.

Mr Gerver added: “Covid has been the most horrific experience in most people’s lived experience but it won’t be the first or last time we have to cope with profound levels of change in our personal lives. All too often our reflex when dealing with a problem is to go direct to the technical or strategic solution, but we need to understand the human first and
that has never been more true than it is now, particularly when thinking about our future workforce.

“Dialogue between educators and businesses is more important than ever to support young people with career development. Real partnership is the key to success.”

Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council and Vice Chair of Destination Chesterfield reassured the conference that the council is committed to partnership working in order to ensure the future workforce have the post pandemic skills required by local employers.
She explained: “We’re not standing still in Chesterfield. We and our partners recognise that with change comes innovation and with challenge comes resilience. Building resilience and raising the aspirations of future generations is a priority for Chesterfield.

“Our aim is to continue to strengthen links between education providers and local businesses to ensure that our school and college leavers have the skills to access career opportunities available in the borough.”

The annual, free Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Employability and Skills Conference is organised by Chesterfield Borough Council, D2N2 North Derbyshire Careers Hub, and Destination Chesterfield, and is open to businesses, schools and education providers from across North Derbyshire.

Chesterfield businesses that wish to work with the Careers Hub, provide work experience or workplace visit opportunities, recruit apprentices or upskill existing employees, are encouraged to get in touch with Emily Williams, Skills Delivery Officer at Chesterfield Borough Council by emailing or calling 01246 959717.


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NLT throws a lifeline to Chesterfield youngster whose army career dreams were cut short by COVID-19

A young man who had has dreams of a career in the Paratroopers cruelly cut short by the pandemic, has been put on a new employment path thanks to NLT Training Services’ Step Into Employment programme.

Seventeen-year-old Josh Gaynor from Ashgate in Chesterfield left school last year to join the army as a junior soldier at the Army Foundation College (AFC) in Harrogate. Unfortunately, COVID outbreaks and subsequent quarantining meant his platoon missed weeks of vital training, so were set home.

Returning home, Josh struggled to get employment so enrolled on NLT’s Step Into Employment programme. Through the free six-week programme he is now undertaking vital work experience at The Kelstedge pub on Matlock Road.

Although the pub is closed during lockdown, it is doing takeaway food Friday to Sunday each week. Josh has joined the kitchen team on a part-time basis and is helping with meal preparation.

Josh commented: “I was gutted to leave AFC Harrogate but I am very relieved to be able to start something new. I am finding it really fun at The Kelstedge. I am working with a good set of people.”

Once the pub fully re-opens landlord and owner Simon Oxspring hopes to offer Josh paid employment and a permanent role on the team.

He commented: “Not knowing what demand would be like when we launched our takeaway service, the Step into Employment programme was an excellent way for us to provide someone with much-needed work experience and also determine whether we would be in a position to create a new salaried role.

“Josh has really impressed us and we’re looking forward to welcoming him to the team permanently once we are allowed to re-open fully.”

Prior to undertaking work experience at The Kelstedge, Josh received employability coaching at NLT’s offices in Brimington. This enabled him to compile his CV and also look at areas that best matched his skill set and interests. After receiving the offer of work experience, Step into Employment funded the completion of Josh’s Food Hygiene certificate to ensure he was work-ready.

NLT Training Services launched the free six-week Step Into Employment programme last year following the award of a Community Funds Grant.

Prioritising 16 – 24-year-olds, a group which has seen the biggest rise in unemployment since the pandemic, the programme is open to anyone who is currently not in employment, education or training.

Step Into Employment covers a number of practical work-ready skills, including CV preparation, interview techniques, cover letter writing and job search support as well as work experience at local companies operating in a range of sectors.

If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved with the Step into Employment programme, please get in touch with Janice Parker on 07947 550 571 or email

NLT Training Services supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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MPs praise Chesterfield College for its work in developing skills for the future

The Minister for Apprenticeship and Skills, Gillian Keegan MP, visited Chesterfield College virtually last week (Thursday, 28th January).

During the visit, she praised leaders of the college for the work they are undertaking and confirmed that the strategic direction of the organisation meets the ambitions of the Government’s vision for further education, and the role colleges will play in future skills development across the UK.

Local MPs, Toby Perkins, Lee Rowley and Mark Fletcher attended the visit, and pledged their support for the college and the vital role it plays in the development of local communities.

They also praised the college for the work it had undertaken before and during the pandemic.

The visitors explored how the college supports employers, students and apprentices whilst also discussing the challenges and opportunities facing the further education sector.

Topics for discussion included how the college is addressing local skills needs, creatively developing the curriculum, adapting to meet financial constraints, and responding to meet the needs of students and apprentices in lockdown.

Julie Richards, Principal and Chief Executive of the Chesterfield College Group explained: “Our vision is to be recognised as an outstanding college by the communities we serve. We equip our students and apprentices with the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need for success in both their career and personal life.

“The college aims to be the first choice for education and skills in our local area, equipping individuals and employers with the skills they need both now and in the future, supporting our economy to grow and prosper.

“We are making significant progress in realising our vision and the proposals set out in the recently announced FE White Paper places the college in a very favourable position to address the ambitions of Government.

“However, to support the growth and development of people through further education we need parity of funding with schools and support to ensure both young people and adults can access the skills they need for a bright and prosperous future.”

Gillian Keegan MP said: “It was great to be able to virtually visit Chesterfield College to hear how they are supporting learners to build the skills they need to be successful in their future careers.

“I really enjoyed speaking to students Jack and Georgie, who have so much enthusiasm for their studies, and have continued to work hard during the lockdown to develop their skills and knowledge.”

The Minister met a student and an apprentice during the visit and asked about their experiences of learning with the college. Beauty Therapy student, Georgie McGregor and Electrical Installation Apprentice, Jack Harris who is completing his apprenticeship at the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire, explained how the college is helping them to realise their ambitions.

The Minister asked them how lockdown was affecting their learning and what opportunities had arisen. She also asked about careers advice and the importance of supporting young people into the most appropriate study options.

Georgie told the Minister: “The college has a great programme to advise students of our careers options. We are provided with advice and guidance relating to the different routes open to us when we go out to the big wide world. Employers take part on our online learning which helps us to understand how to apply our skills in industry.”

“We are currently focusing on theory as part of the Level 3 course, by working online with live lessons delivered by our tutors. Getting the theory done means as soon as we can get back in the classroom we can use the knowledge we are gaining now to support us as we develop our practical skills.”

Jack explained how he spent his time during furlough getting ahead in his studies and completing 10 practice papers for his exam. His hard work paid off and he achieved a pass of 98%.

He told the Minister how the college has supported him as he has progressed through the levels of study and how hard he is working to fulfil his ambition to become Head Electrician at the Chatsworth Estate.

The Minister praised Jack and Georgie for their attitude and using their time wisely in lockdown.

She wished them well in their studies and promised to return to visit in person as soon as she is able, asking if Georgie would do her make-up when she comes to see the facilities and more of the initiatives she had heard about during her virtual visit.

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