The Greater Manchester Apprenticeship Company (GMAC) is celebrating the success of its innovative apprenticeship support portal which has surpassed 6,000 users in just six months.

This is Me, launched in September 2016, is exclusively available to young people studying with GMAC providers across Greater Manchester, providing them with 24-7 support and access to a range of careers resources including help building a CV, video-based mock interviews, tips from employers and a hub of live vacancies in the region.

Former Stockport Academy student Maddie Frazer-Hanley, aged 16, was on a six-week employability programme with training provider The Skills Company when she accessed This is Me to enhance her CV and search for vacancies. She successfully applied for and was accepted onto a Level 2 Hairdressing apprenticeship at That Hair Place in Stockport.

Commenting on the experience, Maddie said: “I’ve always wanted to do hairdressing and doing the course with The Skills Company confirmed that this is the career for me. It was an opportunity to see if I liked hairdressing, increase my confidence, make friends, and get used to The Skills Company –  which was good as I then got onto an apprenticeship through them. I now go to The Skills Company once a week to do my training and the rest of the week I apply my skills at That Hair Place.”

Natalie Whitman, co-owner of That Hair Place, said: “Apprenticeships are great – working and training at the same time is definitely the way forward. The best thing is that employers can train the apprentice from scratch to do things the way they want. We have two apprentices with us at the moment, including Maddie, and hope to keep them on once we’ve trained them up.”

In just six months, 6,632 students from across the GMAC partnership have logged on and used the apprenticeship tools, with the three most popular activities being the CV builder, career quizzes and the vacancies page.

Jayne Worthington, MD of The Skills Company and GMAC representative, said: “With the combined expertise of the partnership, we have been able to develop a unique tool that can provide the advice and guidance young people considering an apprenticeship really need. Excitingly, we’re seeing increasing numbers of students across the partnership, like Maddie, moving on to an apprenticeship from further education, and we’re confident this will continue.”   

Theresa Grant, Lead Chief Executive for Skills and Employment for Greater Manchester Combined Authority, added: “National Apprenticeship Week is an important week in the calendar where we are able to recognise the achievements of so many young people who are paving their way in the working world with an apprenticeship, but it’s also a time to encourage others to get on board. Apprenticeships have a vital role to play in the future economy of the region, and it is important that we continue to put all our efforts into creating these opportunities for young people to really kick start their career, as well as providing development opportunities for people already in work to progress onwards and upwards.”

To find out more about the Greater Manchester Apprenticeship Company, contact the project lead Helen Hawxwell (gmac@apprenticeshipgrowth.co.uk).