Business leaders and apprentices from across the county have joined forces in a new project to promote the benefits of apprenticeships.
The new network of Apprenticeship Ambassadors will soon be taking to the road as part of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnershipâ€™s drive to increase the number of apprenticeships in the county.
The Apprenticeship Ambassadors which include, Chief Executives, training staff and former apprentices from across the county will promote apprenticeships and the benefits they bring to businesses and the workforce.Â They will champion Apprenticeships to both employers and young people, share their own experiences and give advice and support when needed.
Ken Stepney, Chair of the Enterprise and Skills Group with Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership said:
â€œGrowing the number of apprenticeships and the number of employers taking on an apprentice is one of the LEPâ€™s top priorities and will be key to our future economic growth.
â€œIâ€™m sure our Ambassadors will help spread the word amongst our local employers and young people who might be thinking about becoming an apprentice.Â Whilst our Apprenticeship Ambassadors are all from different backgrounds, one thing they have in common is that they are all truly passionate about apprenticeships.Â They want to see more employers realise the benefits of taking on an apprentice and more young people given the advice and guidance to consider the apprentice option.â€
Around ten Ambassadors have already been recruited to the programme and include:
Jenny Conlon, HR & Training Centre Manager at engineering firm KMF based in Newcastle said:
â€œApprenticeships give young people the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the workplace whilst receiving training to high standard qualifications, earning a wage and getting their foot on the career ladder. For businesses, apprentices can be placed on a rotational training program to allow for the flexibility to learn the trade, improve the companyâ€™s overall skill level and development through their eagerness to learnâ€
Jenny is also a National Apprentice Service Ambassador and a STEM ambassador for Staffordshire and Shropshire, therefore having the ability to promote apprenticeships and the Stoke-on-Trent Ambassador Network programme across the county to other likeminded organisations and educational institutions.
Will Nixon, Deputy Chief Executive of Aspire Group said: â€œIâ€™m very proud to be an Apprenticeship Ambassador and look forward to promoting apprenticeships where I can to other employers.Â I am passionate about apprenticeships and have seen the positive impact they have had on many organisations and the young people that choose that option.
â€œBy employing an Apprentice, a business is fulfilling their corporate social responsibilities by creating an opportunity to help a person into employment, boost productivity and also grow their skills base. Most importantly, through training and knowledge sharing, the company is making a positive impact on a personâ€™s lifeâ€
Paula Warrilow, HR Adviser â€“ Resourcing Staffordshire County Council
â€œApprenticeships are very important for young people who do not want to go to university. In the past, apprenticeships have been promoted and offered to young people who were not deemed to be academic. It is clear that the development they can offer young people is equally as important, for our industry and future economic growth.Â Iâ€™m now looking forward to getting out and talking to employers about how they can improve their business by taking on an apprentice.â€
Tim Wareham, Training Manager, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and a former apprentice himself Â said:
â€œI recommend Apprenticeships as a viable, credible pathway to a career. Without a doubt, our return on investment has been phenomenal in all parts of our programme. Apprentices arenâ€™t just a short term fix they are an investment in the future.
â€œMy Apprenticeship taught me core skills – both technical and interpersonal, and also taught me Life skills, It taught me how to behave in the Canteen, how to plan and budget my finances; and I was able to follow in the footsteps and learn from people who have had a profound effect on my values and work ethosâ€
Sarah Stanway – Funding & Quality Manager, with Axia Solutions and former apprentice herself said:
â€œAn apprenticeship allows you to learn whilst you earn and provides you with the skills and job experience you require to get on in the jobs market and earn higher wages.
â€œWhen I completed my Intermediate Apprenticeship I progressed on to an Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Administration whilst at the same time furthering my career prospects.Â When I completed my advanced apprenticeship I attended Staffordshire University where I completed a Certificate in Business Administration. This pathway enabled me to progress in my careers and led to where I am now.â€