From education to employment

South West ATA championing apprenticeship success #GlosApprentice

It was recently announced that the Bristol and Gloucester based specialist apprenticeship recruitment and employment agency, the South West Apprenticeship Company (SWAC) has successfully nominated five finalists for this year’s Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Awards.

The winners of each award will be announced at the awards evening on Thursday 5th July 2018 in the Gold Cup Suite at Cheltenham Racecourse and will be hosted by Lee McQueen, from The Apprentice. 

SWAC APPRENTICES shortlisted for the Outstanding Apprentice of the Year (Financial & Business Services):

  • Alice Loveday
  • Amy Ruck
  • Jack Malley

SWAC APPRENTICE shortlisted for Outstanding Apprentice of the Year (Health, Education & Care – Private or Public Sector):

  • Rhiannon Smith 

Alice Loveday SWAC’s Apprenticeship Recruitment Officer explained why she chose the apprenticeship route:

“As I was getting ready to leave college, I had to decide what my next step would be. Although I had considered University, I really wanted to gain valuable work-place experience as well as qualifications, so I looked into Apprenticeships. I also found the support that you get throughout a SWAC apprenticeship very appealing, as I had no work-place experience at this point.” 

“I found the SWAC website and whilst reading about the company, I found that there was an apprenticeship vacancy within their organisation. I applied through the website, had a telephone interview and then met for a face to face interview, which allowed me to ask any questions that I had and get a better understanding of the role.”

Amy Ruck, Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association shared apprentice added:

“I felt that the Apprenticeship route was best for me as I enjoy being active and learning on the job. I feel that I have something great to offer the organisations I work for and that with my initiative and enthusiasm I can hopefully boost the importance of education in the tourism industry.”

Following on from SWAC’s success at the Bristol and Bath Apprenticeship Awards in May this year where they won the Medium Apprentice Employer of the Year, they have also been shortlisted for the Employer of the Year (25 +) category at the Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Awards.

Since 2010 SWAC have employed over 620 Apprentices supporting over 400 employers to engage with apprentices across all sectors.  Through the SWAC model, the employer does not directly employ the apprentice. Instead, SWAC employs the apprentice, and the organisation becomes the ‘host’ employer.  Both apprentice and host are supported through the whole Apprenticeship placement to help the apprentice to reach their full potential.

With SWAC’s support their apprentices have gone on to be senior managers within local SME businesses, set-up their own business or gone onto further study with a degree at local Universities.

SWAC Director Clare Vertigen explains;

“We encourage exceptional performance from our apprentices and try to establish how they have exceeded expectations by going above and beyond their everyday duties by applying their learning from their Apprenticeship in their workplace. We have an Apprentice of the Month and Year Award which rewards apprentices that have demonstrated this.

“We also encourage our apprentices to ask for feedback from their host supervisor on performance and impact made against business/departmental objectives; to look at costs savings and initiatives or innovations they have introduced that has had an outstanding contribution to the business.

“By doing this we can measure the benefits our apprentices have made for all our host partners and for us as a business.  We expect to see cost savings, process changes, improved operational procedures, better customer satisfaction and increased revenue due to the new skills. In fact we have seen all of these!”

Clare goes on to say:

“Not all Apprentice journeys go smoothly!  However, with personalised support through a dedicated Mentor we try to meet our apprentice’s individual needs, helping them to overcome barriers to learning and ultimately achieve their career aspirations.

“We support our host partners and apprentices through all disciplinary, performance improvement plans and unforeseen issues (pregnancy, ill-health, redundancy, etc.) advising the provider, host and apprentice when a break in learning may be needed or workplace adjustments need to be made.”

For more information call SWAC on 01452 733962.

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