Apprenticeships #PassTheTorch Campaign tours Wiltshire

By Anita Jaynes on March 03, 2016

On Wednesday March 16, the #PassTheTorch campaign visited the Corsham Means Business Show  at Hartham Park to highlight the importance of apprenticeships and to mark National Apprenticeship Week 2016 (March 14-18).

Designed and made by first and second year apprentices working for QinetiQ at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire the Apprenticeship Torch acts as a symbolic representation of the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next as well as showcasing the extraordinary talent to be found among apprentices.

Apprentice employers Business against Poverty, Can Do Contracts and digi-Print held the torch alongside their apprentices to show their support and dedication to the next generation of business talent.

James Provenzano is 17 and joined Can Do Contracts of Chippenham in January of this year as a sales apprentice. When asked what he thought of his apprenticeship experience he said: “Fantastic. It’s been tough, I was dropped in at the deep end, but I’m now building up my client base. I would 100% recommend apprenticeships to anyone making educational choices. A lot of my friends are in the sixth form with plans of going to university and coming out with £60,000 worth of debt. Earning straight away and building my future was important to me.”

Business against Poverty apprentice Sophie Thompson added: “Attending business shows like this and representing the company has really grown my confidence. I found the opportunity on the National Apprenticeship website and I’ve never looked back. I’m learning such a lot whilst earning a wage.”

Wali Rahman, Senior Development Officer (Employment and Skills) for Wiltshire Council was at Hartham Park for the passing of the torch, he explained: “The Wiltshire Apprenticeship Campaign is important to help reach the government’s target of creating three million apprenticeship opportunities nationally by 2020. The campaign is encouraging more people to benefit from the skills of being an apprentice and advising employers of the valuable contribution an apprentice can bring to the workplace. Last year there were almost 5,400 apprenticeships in Wiltshire and this year the target is 5,600. So far this year the figures are looking encouraging, especially for young people aged 16 to 18 with 700 in this age group taking up apprenticeships from August to December 2015 – a 39 percent increase on the same period in 2014.

Ben Gregory director of digiprint that has offices in Bath, Chippenham and Trowbridge has been an apprentice employer for 8 years. He said: “When I left school there were only two options available, either university or work, so I struggled to get the quality and effective training that was required for my industry. I had to create my own apprenticeship and worked for free for many businesses to gain the skills I needed. As soon as I started my own company I wanted to offer apprenticeships to gain quality, trained and enthusiastic staff that were home grown to my exact needs. All of my apprentices have been offered enhanced roles with digiprint after completion and one is even a branch manager now.”

Jacob Howell, 19 is an ex pupil of Abbeyfield’s school in Chippenham and joined digiprint in July 2014. He’s just finishing his final year of his apprenticeship in graphic design and visual graphics. He said: “I love working with companies and helping them choose a design that suits their business.”

Apprenticeships are available in more than 170 industries covering over 1,500 job roles. There are up to 27,000 vacancies available across England on the apprenticeships.gov.uk  website right now. Or call the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600 to find out more.

Locally you can contact: wiltshire.apprenticeships@wiltshire.gov.uk or 01225 716890. Visit www.workwiltshire.co.uk

Pictured above from left to right: Jacob Howell and Ben Gregory of digiprint, Sophie Thompson of Business against Poverty, Wali Rahman, Work Wiltshire, Val Huxley, Business against Poverty, James Provenzano and Dan Phillips, Can Do Contracts.

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