Young people working at one of football’s leading charities have credited apprenticeships for helping them take the first steps in their careers. 

Charli Head, Oliver Collinson and Dylan Aiston are currently working at Foundation of Light – the official charity of Sunderland AFC – across different departments within the organisation where they are learning new skills, gaining experience and earning a salary. 

The award-winning and pioneering Foundation of Light, based at the state-of-the-art Beacon of Light, worked closely with Sunderland College and its parent group Education Partnership North East – who deliver the training – to recruit Charli, Oliver and Dylan to business administration and ICT support apprenticeship roles. 

ICT Technician Dylan, who is delighted to have gained an apprenticeship at the Foundation, said: ‘So far, my apprenticeship has been amazing, I am getting hands on knowledge in a field that interests me and I’m meeting great people.  

“The reasons I chose the apprenticeship route was not only to gain work experience and an income but also to move away from full time education. Overall, I think apprenticeships are a great option if you don’t enjoy full time education or if you want to get your foot in the door in a field you enjoy.” 

Jamie Wright, Foundation of Light’s Managing Director said: “We see apprenticeships as a great way to bring new talent into the organisation. 

“Many of our current staff started off their careers as apprentices at the Foundation before progressing to become full time members of staff so apprenticeships have always been important for us.” 

Peter Robertson, Head of Business Development at Education Partnership North East, said: “An apprenticeship at the Foundation of Light is a fantastic opportunity to gain a career at one of the North East’s leading organisations. Apprentices at the Foundation are developing the skills and gaining the qualifications that will set them up for the rest of their careers, all while earning while they learn. 

“Sunderland College and Education Partnership North East are among the largest apprenticeship providers in the region and we work with employers across all sectors who fully support the development of apprentices. 

“The Foundation of Light have really bought into the value ethos of apprenticeships, and we are proud to be working in partnership with them to meet their workforce needs.” 

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19