AN Oxfordshire college has topped the league for the success of its students on apprenticeship schemes.

According to the latest statistics released by the Skills Funding Agency, Abingdon & Witney College’s success rate for 16 to 18-year-olds on apprenticeships is the highest in England out of 218 colleges.

Ninety per cent of the 50 students due to finish their apprenticeships in 2013/14 completed all the study and work elements of their courses by the end of course deadlines. The national average is 55 per cent.

Apprentice Megan Clarke, 17, is completing the first year of her apprenticeship in business administration, which will lead to an NVQ Level 2 certificate, and is doing the practical part of her course working in the college’s apprenticeship office.

The former Witney Girl’s School pupil said: “It feels really amazing to be number one.

“It’s great to be a part of it and because I’m in the office where it’s all happening, you can see how much everyone cares about the apprentices and the employers too.”

“I’m learning customer services skills and how to interact with people at work and in a business environment. These are skills that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

“The apprenticeship scheme is really good. It’s just a different style of learning and you can see how it applies to what you do in everyday life.”

Principal Teresa Kelly added: “We are very proud.

It demonstrates why we are the first choice for so many young people and adults in Oxfordshire.”

Jacqui Canton, assistant principal with responsibility for apprenticeships, added: “We are absolutely delighted to be confirmed as the college with the highest 16 to 18-year-old apprenticeship success rates in the country.

“Apprenticeships are a key area of growth for the college – in fact, we have grown our provision by more than 400 per cent over the past three years.

“To achieve such fantastic growth while delivering the best apprenticeship success rates in the country can only be good news for young people and employers in Oxfordshire.”

The college offers apprenticeships in more than 20 subjects including engineering, horticulture and IT.

It is introducing new schemes in hairdressing, construction and social media for business in September and has 200 students on apprenticeships at any one time.

Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan visited the college yesterday to praise staff and students for their success.

She said: “Going to university is very important but it’s not right for everybody.

Apprenticeships offer such great opportunities to earn while you learn.”

Oxford West and Abingdon Conservative parliamentary candidate Nicola Blackwood added: “It’s an outstanding achievement.”