Seddon: 19 applicants for every apprentice place

Seddon Group received 1,400 applications for 75 places on its apprenticeship scheme in the current year.

The 75-year-old company employs 790 people in the North West and normally takes on 50 to 55 apprentices a year but is taking on the same number as its anniversary in 2012.

Nicola Hodkinson, director of Seddon Construction, said: "The colleges are full of people on construction courses with no jobs to go to. In order for more employers to follow our lead, we'd like to see changes to the current funding arrangements which, in our view, are too complex. It would make sense for more funding to go directly to employers who, after all, are the people needed to deliver the vocational experience which colleges can't provide."

Seddon Group is based in Holmes Chapel and the Seddon Construction subsidiary is headquartered in Bolton.

Seddon's recruitment campaign included launching an interactive microsite for applications and holding over 50 careers events in schools and colleges and back-to-work schemes. Demand was so high that the company extended its application deadline by six weeks.

Hodkinson said 65% of applicants met the trade entry criteria required by CITB ConstructionSkills and the company plans to interview more than 500 applicants.

Seddon offers apprenticeships in trades including bricklaying, plumbing, plastering, carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating and maintenance. Apprentices are guided by an apprentice manager who mentors them throughout their training and supports their college-based learning. On site they are closely supervised by qualified tradespeople.

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I seem to recall something similar in Warrington – Golden Gates Housing in late 2011 advertised for around 10 apprenticeships with themselves. They received a total of over 2,500 applicants for the roles – that’s 250 per place!

By E Hayes

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