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Shattering myths about apprenticeships

Telford College has launched a new campaign to celebrate the vital contribution which apprenticeships are making to the local economy - and shatter some age-old myths in the process.

The ‘50 Day Pledge’, which will highlight a different success story every day, officially kicked off at the start of National Apprenticeships Week on February 3.

Over the course of the campaign, the college will be spotlighting the many different ways in which apprenticeships are creating life-changing opportunities - both for the apprentices involved, and their employers.

Telford College currently has more than 1,000 apprentices working with over 400 different companies. Apprenticeships go from level two up to level five.

The 50 Day Pledge will highlight the breadth of industries and roles available for apprentices, and showcase the talent and energy which they are bringing into the Shropshire workplace.

The college will also be holding a careers fair on February 5 for its current students and apprentices from 10am to 3pm – before flying the flag at the All About Apprenticeships show which begins at Shrewsbury Town football club later that same day.

Some of Shropshire’s biggest name companies are using Telford College to train their apprentices.

They include civil engineering company McPhillips, a former Shropshire Company of the Year champion. Marketing manager Mark Kiddie said: “We have been working with Telford College for a number of years and run a two-year apprenticeship course.

“We recruit up to 10 apprentices a year and they do a day release here at Telford College. The remainder of the week they are out on site putting some of the skills they have been taught here into practice.

“Being able to practice and reinforce the theory they learn is vital. Apprenticeships give us the next generation of our workforce.”

Peter McMillan of Avara Foods, the Hortonwood-based food processing giant, said: “Having been though an apprenticeship myself many decades go, I see it as a vital bloodline for the company going forward.

“We need apprentices which are current in terms of the new technology we are using as we move away from manual labour into automation and the higher level robotics.”

At office supplies company Lyreco, apprentice Emily Smith was named as one of the company’s top performers of 2019, and has been promoted to a role in its credit control team.

Duncan Milton, from Lyreco’s customer care team (pictured with Emily), said: “She consistently hit her objectives and targets monthly, and also consistently displayed Lyreco’s values day in and day out. She was a pleasure to have on my team.”

Elsewhere, Telford College’s most recent Apprentice of the Year winner, James Halbert, is continuing to progress his career at Shrewsbury-based bridge-building specialists, Beaver Bridges

Director Jo Beaver said: “James has been gaining lots of valuable experience on site recently, and the company will be looking for him to have his own site team. James has continued to learn new skills such as his dumper certificate and health and safety awareness.”

Graham Guest, Telford College’s principal and chief executive, said: “There are dozens more amazing success stories just like these, and National Apprenticeship Week is a time to recognise and applaud them.

“We want to make people aware of the incredible diversity of career options which are now available through apprenticeships, and which may surprise some people.

“We also want to show employers the value of reaching beyond traditional hiring routes – as well as encouraging parents and teachers to look beyond outdated preconceptions around apprenticeships.”

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