More than 4,500 budding young workers have been taking advantage of apprenticeship placements at Chesterfield College during the last six years.
The college, on Infirmary Road, has released figures showing apprenticeships have grown from about 250 in 2008/09 to over 4,500 in 2013/14.
A college spokesman said: “Growth in apprenticeships has been significant and sustained year-on-year with over 4,500 planned in for 2013/14.”
The figures follow an overall “good” Ofsted rating with some areas achieving outstanding status and the college’s work with employers and apprentices were identified as areas of good practice.
Around 1,200 small-to-medium-sized employers from across the region are now working with the college’s apprenticeship service with its delivery provided through curriculum teams, Learning Unlimited and other partners.
The rise in apprenticeships means apprentices make up nearly half of the college’s overall student numbers and they are expected to be the largest group of students at the college during 2014.
The college also claims its apprenticeship success rate in 2011-12 was also about ten per cent higher than the national rate.
College principal Trevor Clay explained last year how an increase in the demand for training and apprenticeships had also led to a need for different types of college staff leading to a staff reshape and redundancies.
A college spokesman added: “Our vision is that by 2015 we will become recognised locally and nationally as an outstanding college by the students, employers and communities we serve.”
The college’s Overall Apprenticeship Success Rate for 2013 was 81.9per cent which is way above the national benchmark of 72.3per cent.
Its Apprenticeship Academy involves Sales and Business Admin apprentices initially engaging with employers to source opportunities for future candidates.
The college’s 2013 Ofsted report highly commended this practice, noting “The Apprenticeship Academy is an excellent, innovative model for the initial engagement of employers in the apprenticeship programme”.
The college said 92per cent of apprentices from the Academy progressed into full-time employment or employment with training.
Learning Unlimited now offers over 35 different apprenticeship frameworks including Graphic Design, Beauty Therapy, Creative Media and Clinical Care.
They currently have around 2,000 apprentices out learning with approximately 1,000 employers.
Ofsted stated: “The proportion of learners successfully gaining their apprenticeship is high and has been substantially higher than the national average for the last three years.”
Principal of Chesterfield College, Trevor Clay, said: “We’re proud to be the frontrunner in apprenticeship delivery across the region.
“We’ve worked hard to provide a service that not only benefits young people but also one that is hugely beneficial for businesses.
“Our expanding apprenticeship offer is down to innovative ways of working such as our Apprenticeship Academy which alongside our strong work with employers was highly commended in our recent Ofsted report.
“Apprenticeships are only set to grow in popularity and provide probably the best opportunity for young people to gain the relevant skills and knowledge they need for full time employment.
“For employers they represent a great opportunity to fill skills gaps in a business, bringing in new ideas and future proofing a workforce for years to come.”