Painting bright futures in Wiltshire

By Anita Jaynes on 15 October, 2015

Six people from the Trowbridge area have just embarked on exciting new careers in the construction sector as apprentices with property repairs company Silcoa, part of the Selwood Housing Group. The apprentices, aged between 16 and 36, have been appointed into different roles including multi-trades, painting and decorating and business administration.

Daniel Britton joined Silcoa as an apprentice painter and decorator. He said: “After I left school I got a year and a half experience painting and decorating. After changes in the company I was unable to get my qualification at that time and ended up working in a bakery for the last four years. When I saw the role come up at Silcoa I thought it was a great opportunity for me to get back into painting and decorating which is something I really want to do. I am really enjoying it so far.”

The apprentices are being supported in their roles by nominated mentors, as part of a mentoring training programme developed by The Learning Curve, an established local training charity which recently joined the Selwood Housing Group.

Daniel’s mentor, Tom Riley said: “The Learning Curve is helping to support me in my role as mentor. It helps me to pass on my skills and I really enjoy the feeling of aiding someone else in their future career.”

The apprentices have had one week on the job training so far and spend two days a week at Wiltshire College. Working alongside Tom, Daniel has already successfully completed a variety of tasks, including painting spindles on a staircase (pictured): a difficult challenge which he has completed successfully. Daniel added: “Tom is a great mentor he has lots of knowledge to pass on and it builds my confidence working with someone who knows what they are doing.”

Kathryn Roynon, HR & Central Services Manager at The Learning Curve said: “The apprentice mentoring training programme has been designed to equip experienced staff with the skills needed to support new recruits with gaining the practical and work skills to thrive in their new roles. Getting this initial support right is crucial.”

Apprenticeships are currently under the spotlight as part of national Work Experience Week, which this year takes place from October 12-16. Run by national charity Fair Train – developers of the national Work Experience Quality Standard accreditation – Work Experience Week is a chance for organisations to showcase the positive work they are doing and help promote the value of high quality work experience placements.

Beth Gardner, CEO of Fair Train, said: “Currently, only one in four employers offer any type of work experience, and we don’t think that’s good enough. But with work-based learning on the increase – the Government has recently announced its commitment to creating three million new apprenticeships, for example – it is vital that we don’t just focus on numbers. We must ensure that all learners receive a high quality work experience.”

Beth explains: “Fair Train works with organisations such as The Learning Curve, which is leading the way in developing high quality work experience programmes in Wiltshire. Work Experience Week is the ideal time to showcase the positive work being done by organisations across the country, which are reaping the rewards when it comes to work experience, and to encourage others to do the same.”

To find out more about developing an apprentice mentoring programme to support new recruits in your organisation, contact Kathryn Roynon at The Learning Curve on 01225 792500 or