Preston College principal hails job figures as she calls on local employers to boost apprenticeships

Louise Doswell, principal and chief executive of Preston College, has welcomed the latest ONS employment statistics that show a return to pre-pandemic levels, but says local employers need to give more people a chance by creating apprenticeships.

The unemployment rate has fallen back to pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest data up to November 2021.

In figures set out recently, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of UK payrolled workers had jumped by a record 184,000 month-on-month, to 29.5 million in December 2021, a rise of 0.6%.

The ONS said the number of people employed is now 1.4%, or 409,000, above levels witnessed before the pandemic.

Commenting on the latest statistical release, Louise said: “It’s a relief to see some sort of normality returning to the jobs market.

“As a college, our role is to educate young people and adults to equip them with the skills and qualifications needed to gain work and establish a long and fulfilling career, but with fewer jobs around during the pandemic, it’s been a worrying time.

“I’m pleased that we can once again see workforce demand growing, creating life opportunities for our students.

“However, I’d like to see more local employers commit to taking on and training apprentices of all ages. The combination of academic education and hands-on, practical learning can really make a difference to both the employer and the employee.”

Preston College is a specialist in technical and vocational education, and offers a wide range of advanced level courses across many subject areas, from accountancy to media and science.

It is sponsoring the Employer of the Year category in this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, where it will be looking for evidence of recognised best practice.

“The best employers are those with the perfect blend of great culture and high levels of employee engagement, coupled with an obvious focus on personal development and workforce wellbeing that makes people feel valued.

“For me, the acid test is when you ask a current member of staff if they’d recommend their employer to a friend or family member. If they say yes, that’s the best indicator that it’s a great place to work, and that’s exactly what we’re going to be on the lookout for when judging entrants in the Employer of the Year award this year,” said Louise.

The BIBAs are open for entry until Friday 8th April. For more details, visit

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