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Apprentices join campaign to promote benefits of lifelong work skills

February 7, 2023

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Apprentices join campaign to promote benefits of lifelong work skills

Gill Starling and Kyle Hugill are two Staffordshire apprentices joining in the celebrations for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.

Both are learning real skills while developing their careers and are sharing their experiences as part of the weeklong campaign starting today.

35-year-old Gillian Starling from South Staffordshire is a Laboratory Technician with the county council’s highways department. Gillian is currently doing a Level 3 Materials Testing Technician apprenticeship.

She said: “Back in August 2021, I decided to have a career change, which is when I got my job with the highway’s laboratory at the county council. I knew I wanted to work in a laboratory team environment but also wanted to have the option to work outdoors and this job allows me to do both.

“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship. It has given me confidence in my role and is continuously improving my technical abilities and skills. I am able to apply the theory that I am learning to my role, when both testing samples and when working on site.

“I hope to continue working for the laboratory and develop as a versatile technician with areas of specialist knowledge.  If anyone is considering an apprenticeship, I would say go for it.  It not only helps develop your confidence and skills but makes you challenge yourself every day.”

Former apprentice Olivia Wilce is now a job broker at Staffordshire County Council and said: “Starting as an apprentice with the county council myself was fantastic.  Not only did I get the chance to learn new skills, I also ended up with a valuable qualification.

“Now I’m actually helping others to find their route into new jobs, careers and training opportunities as a job broker within the new service.  It’s been brilliant and I love what I do. I’m very grateful to the county council for the opportunity I’ve had to grow and develop.”

Philip White, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills at Staffordshire County Council said: “Continuing to grow and invest in our economy, so that people have access to high quality jobs, remains a priority for the county council.

“This includes improving skills and making sure that we have skilled and ambitious employees to meet the changing needs of our employers.  Apprenticeships are key to this and not only a great option for those them but benefit businesses too, bringing in fresh ideas and impriving productivity”

Apprentices continue to play a key role in growing Staffordshire’s economy, with over 6,500 apprentices in learning during hte last 12 months. Apprenticeships are available from level 2 to higher apprenticeship’s, which are the equivalent of a foundation group to a bachelors degree and even a masters degree level in some sectors.

18-year-old Kyle Hugill is an apprentice mechanic with FMS Car and Truck in Stafford. Kyle said:

“Apprenticeships are definitely not the easy way out.  Learning and earning is tough, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’ve been here for two years and learnt so much; far more than if I was just in a classroom.  If anyone is thinking about doing an apprenticeship, I’d say go for it – just try it.

“It’s not hard to get an apprenticeship, you can get them through colleges, but if you want to find out about apprenticeships available right across Staffordshire, the Staffordshire Jobs and Careers website is the place to go.”

Why an apprenticeship could be a great opportunity for you!

It’s National Apprenticeship Week, and this year we’re focusing on busting the most common myths about apprenticeships.

You may have heard that apprenticeships are only for young people, are only for people in certain sectors or are only for new people joining the county council. Perhaps you have a misconception that an apprenticeship can’t help you reach your career goals.

In fact, none of that is true. Apprenticeships offer a fantastic opportunity to gain new skills and develop in your career. They are suitable for anyone over the age of 16, and there are hundreds of courses to choose from across many different sectors. We not only recruit apprentices into the organisation, but you can do an apprenticeship alongside your job to upskill and get to where you want to be.

What Schools Say About Us

Being part of the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Careers Hub has been pivotal to the development of careers provision in our school. The Hub have shared good practice across their members resulting in a stronger focus on good quality provision. The annual event enabled the hub to share their vision of School Improvement Through The Lens of Careers and looking beyond the Benchmarks. It was a fantastic opportunity to share different models of school improvement and strategies to further develop careers provision to enhance the future opportunities of our young people.

Mrs A Spencer, John Taylor High School

What Businesses Say About Us

It it superb to be able to speak with local schools, colleges, and businesses in Stoke and Staffs and show how important the partnerships are to bring the skills of the future. Educating those who educate the ones shaping the aspirations of young people is essential for the industry to grow and be more sustainable.”

Alison Tucker, St Modwen