Northamptonshire’s boot and shoe heritage is something for the county to be hugely proud of but a new generation of Northampton College apprentices are reimagining this iconic industry for the 21st century.
As part of a growing partnership with the British Footwear Association (BFA), students are experiencing life in the factories of some of the world’s biggest boot and shoe brands – earning while they learn and developing their skills to ensure the profession is able to flourish for years to come.
Students’ work was on display as part of the BFA’s 120th anniversary celebrations at Delapre Abbey on Thursday, March 28. Shoes handmade by current apprentices at Church & Co took centre stage alongside classic footwear from manufacturers such as Loake Bros, Tricker’s and Crockett & Jones.
Level Two footwear manufacturing apprentice Tom Glennon said: “The apprenticeship has been an unbelievable opportunity to learn a range of skills which can be applied across the entire shoe manufacturing business.
“I’ve spent time in every department and seen how it all works. I’ve even had the chance to make my own pair of custom made shoes from scratch which is amazing.”
Fellow apprentice Bobby Nangla added: “I’m very fashion focused so to have the chance to work for one of the world’s most respected and iconic shoe manufacturers is a dream come true.
“There’s so much history associated with the brand and it’s a real privilege to be able to work alongside industry professionals and learn skills to last a lifetime.”
The students are the first cohort to be following a newly-agreed footwear manufacturing apprenticeship standard, shaped following consultation between the BFA, manufacturers and education providers.
The standard sets out an agreed pathway for students to follow throughout their apprenticeship, outlining typical day-to-day duties such as cutting and thinning materials, ‘closing’ and ‘lasting’ the shoes, attaching the sole and finishing the footwear.
The BFA anniversary celebrations culminated in a black tie dinner at Delapre Abbey, with Northampton College music performance students Josefine Ackermann, Elliot Storey and Elliot Clark entertaining guests at the drinks reception.
The next generation of motor vehicle engineers at Northampton College will be able to hone their skills on up-to-the-minute equipment thanks to a generous donation from CarShop.
The Ravens Way-based car supermarket has handed over a Volkswagen car for students to work on, perfecting their skills on the kind of vehicle they can expect to encounter as part of their everyday working life.
The donation follows the launch of an apprenticeship scheme which has seen two Northampton College students undertake an ‘earn while you learn’ placement with the company.
Rob Pardon, Head of Talent Development at CarShop, said: “Being able to work on more modern cars will be a real benefit to the students, it will much more like what they can expect to see in a typical workshop in the workplace. The vehicle is fitted with 21st century electrical systems and has a DSG Gearbox which will give extremely useful experience so it’s second nature to them when the time comes to get out into the working world.”
Businesses with skill gaps and a need for new team members can tap into a pipeline of more than 300 talented Northampton College students ready to start working today.
Employers are urged to contact the college as part of National Apprenticeship Week, which takes place between March 4 and 8.
This annual celebration of apprenticeships will bring the whole apprenticeship community together to celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy.
For more information, call the college’s Business Centre on 01604 734323 or email
Do you want to be part of a College that is at the forefront of its community, constantly building on its achievements and working to secure an ever higher quality of education and training for students of all ages and backgrounds in Northamptonshire?
Northampton College is looking for two new Governors, with a particular focus on applicants with a strong accountancy or legal background.
Being a governor is a non-executive Trustee role. The Corporation provides strategic input for the College, in both holding staff to account for the overall delivery of the offer to students in a professional manner and at the same time offering support.
The roles are a stimulating and rewarding opportunity to bring insights from your own field of experience to the strategic direction of a leading Further and Higher Education College – enabling thousands of people to reach their full potential and benefiting employers and the wider community.
Principal of Northampton College, Pat Brennan-Barrett, said: “This is an opportunity to hold a key role in a College that is rated by Ofsted as Good with outstanding features. We are the leading College in the region and we are looking to be seen as one of the very best in the country. We are ambitious and we are looking for Governors who share that vision and determination to deliver success.
“Our present Governors come from a wide range of backgrounds and there are strong professional working relationships between the Corporation and staff, which is a key element of how we work and our success. Whilst all applications are welcome, we are particularly seeking Governors holding accountancy or legal qualifications.”
An induction programme and on-going training will be provided to the successful candidates.
The deadline for applications is April 30.
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