Former Rolls-Royce apprenticeships learning and development manager Neil Fowkes has been appointed director of apprenticeships and engineering at Derby College.

Mr Fowkes studied at Mackworth Tertiary College, which is now part of Derby College during his own apprenticeship, and has worked in engineering for the past 27 years, initially at International Combustion and then Rolls-Royce.

As lead for apprenticeships and workforce development at the Ofsted grade one-rated car firm, Mr Fowkes has worked in partnership with Derby College for a number of years.

He said: “I am joining Derby College at an exciting time both for the organisation and the regional business community.

Neil Fowkes

Neil Fowkes

“Engineering and manufacturing is expanding in the city and beyond but employers face widespread skills shortages with their established workforce heading towards retirement.

“Employers are going to find it increasingly difficult to find the skilled staff that they need to retain and improve their competitive edge. Young people and particularly apprentices will become increasingly important to their business across all sectors as the pipeline of talent for future growth.

“And the challenge and opportunity for Derby College is to work more closely with employers to support them in the recruitment, training and development of these young people.

“The college is committed to expanding its apprenticeship programmes and its engineering provision to support employers’ needs both now and in the future.”

Derby College chief executive Mandie Stravino said: “Our core objective is to work with employers to ensure the training support that Derby College provides — whether at college or the workplace — meets their needs both now and in the future and provides them with the skills to be competitive and grow.

“Neil’s credentials of working with a global business and understanding employers’ training requirements will be invaluable as we develop our engineering curriculum for future decades and embrace the needs of businesses large and small.”