An event to celebrate the positive impact that apprenticeships and traineeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy takes place on Wednesday 16 March during National Apprenticeship Week.
The Swindon Apprenticeship Awards, organised by Swindon Borough Council, takes place in the Legends Lounge at the County Ground, will see 19 apprentices from a range of organisations presented with awards to recognise their achievements.
The evening also featured the Apprenticeship Torch which has been touring the south of the country in the run-up to National Apprenticeship Week.
Designed and made by first and second year apprentices working for QinetiQ at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, the 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.
The torch is part of the #PassTheTorch Thames Valley Apprenticeship campaign which is being supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Swindon Borough Council is committed, through its Priorities and Pledges, to increasing the number of apprenticeships in the town. Pledge 18 states the Council’s aim of increasing the number of businesses employing young people as an apprentice from 15% to 20% – an additional 280 participants.
In 2014-15, 1,770 apprentices were employed by 676 workplaces in Swindon and the Council’s ambitious target is to have more than 10,000 apprenticeship enrolments over the next five years.
Hiring apprentices helps businesses to develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. The National Apprenticeship Service provides a dedicated service to employers, offering free expert advice and support to those looking to recruit apprentices or take on a trainee for the first time, or expand their existing programmes.
The Council received a total of 51 nominations for the apprenticeship awards from employers across the borough. There were four award categories: Traineeship, Intermediate, Advanced and Higher and awards were open to people who are currently completing full apprenticeships or traineeships. Award winners were chosen for their outstanding skills and qualities, on successfully completed projects they have worked on, how they have exceeded their employer’s expectations and how they have benefitted their business.
One winner is 17 year old Tarlia Clements from Grange Park in West Swindon who joined Excalibur IT & Business Communications as a Customer Services Apprentice in June 2015, after taking her GCSEs at Lydiard Park Academy – pictured. She said: “It’s really fantastic to be recognised, but I put it down to the great opportunity I’ve had at Excalibur. The working environment has been fantastic – the colleagues have been lovely and supportive; they’ve really brought out my confidence and skills. Working here is great preparation for whatever comes after my 12 month apprenticeship which ends in June.”
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, Regeneration and Skills, said: “I have been really impressed by the calibre of the apprentices who have been put forward for these awards and they show just what a talented workforce we have in Swindon.
“The awards themselves are a celebration of apprenticeships and traineeships and the opportunities they can give people, while also highlighting the benefits to businesses.
“The Council is committed to increasing the number of apprenticeship opportunities in Swindon and I hope the awards can inspire both those looking for a route into employment, and employers, to pursue the apprenticeship route.”
See the full list of winners receiving awards at the County Ground.
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.
For further information about apprenticeships in the Swindon area contact Maria Holohan via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured top, Tarlia Clements at Excalibur. Below, with Excalibur CEO James Phipps