The contract to deliver the country’s biggest apprenticeship programme has been won by NCG (formerly Newcastle College Group).

The Academy Apprenticeship and qualifications programme of supermarket giant Morrisons will change hands from current provider Elmfield to NCG from August.

The contract will be managed by the college’s Intraining division, which works with more than 20,000 businesses and trains 54,000 learners every year, including up to 20,000 apprentices.

NCG is committed to developing high quality training and we intend to add to the Morrisons Academy to train the managers of the future so they can go from the shop floor to the ‘top floor’.

It will deliver fully accredited and recognised apprenticeships in subjects such as business and administration; retail; warehousing and storage; and customer service.

Dame Jackie Fisher, NCG chief executive, said: “Developing people through learning is at the heart of everything we do. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Morrisons on such an innovative learning programme.

“We will use our expertise of working each year with 20,000 young people aged 18 or less to ensure young employees are quickly engaged and inspired to take part in learning.

“NCG is committed to developing high quality training and we intend to add to the Morrisons Academy to train the managers of the future so they can go from the shop floor to the ‘top floor’.

“As a not-for-profit organisation we understand the importance of making every penny count and have created a model that ensures funding will be reinvested into learners.”

Morrisons is expected to train around 10,000 apprentices each year through its academy, on courses that will take between one and two years to complete, with more than half focused on 16 to 24-year-olds.

Mickey Greenhalgh, Morrisons’ head of craft and functional skills, said: “We completed a tender of our Academy Apprenticeship programme, to ensure it continues to best support the development of our colleagues.

“I’m delighted that we’ll be working with NCG over the coming years to equip our people with the skills they need to deliver great service to our customers.

“The programme’s ambition is to develop our internal talent and will equip many of our shopfloor colleagues for a move into management and beyond.”

NCG is one of the largest education and training providers working with 100,000 learners every year at 45 locations nationwide. It was graded as good by Ofsted last summer and had an overall apprenticeship success rate for 2011/12 of 77.5 per cent with 5,910 leavers.

Intraining managing director Phil Bonell said: “We deliver tailored on-the-job learning that evolves with employer and market needs. We have developed industry leading capabilities to deliver the highest quality learning, using the latest technology.

“We have systems in place to develop content in house and our dedicated e-Learning team has a proven track record of delivering high quality innovative outputs to ensure learners successfully achieve their goals.”

David Way, executive director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “I am very pleased that Morrisons is ready to continue its investment in apprenticeships and is giving opportunities to many young people to begin their careers in retail.

“This commitment from Morrisons shows the importance that leading employers are placing on apprenticeships to drive their businesses forward.”

Morrisons announced in February that its three-year contract with Elmfield, which had an overall success rate of 58.5 per cent last year from 22,290 apprenticeship leavers, would end this year.

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  1. Nelly

    Ha! How ironic.
    I wonder if “people” will be taking as much interest or offer as much comment about this huge, what has been described as “not really an apprenticeship” provision.
    Maybe Panorama could be encouraged to pop back for a review next year.
    Of course NCG are not privately owned as such, but I bet there will be some huge bonuses and salaries flying around. And I’m sure the old pension packages will be reviewed upwards.
    As long as NCG don’t make any huge profits from this provision though eh.

  2. In answer to Nelly’s point, as of December, 2011, salaries at NCG were:

    Dame Jackie Fisher Chief Executive £190,000

    Esme Winch Group Director – Finance £110,000 to £120,000

    Raza Khan Group Director – Business Development £110,000 to £120,000

    Linda Moore Group Director – Human Resources & Corporate Services £95,000 to £105,000

    Chris Payne Group Director – Planning and Performance £95,000 to £105,000

    Not bad for a non-for profit organisation!!

  3. I wonder if they are offering 20,000 NEW apprenticeships as opposed to up skilling their current workforce still. I do hope a close eye is kept on this.