College scoops top apprenticeship award
On Tuesday 7th March SGS College picked up the Large College Award at the fourth Apprenticeships4England Apprenticeships Awards. Members of SGS College's Employer Engagement team Jill Jones, Trudy Hillier and Patrick Mcleod were at the gala dinner to collect the trophy. This prestigious national awards ceremony recognises training providers and employers for outstanding examples of quality, best practice, innovation and excellence in apprenticeship delivery.
99.5% of businesses agreed that SGS training has improved the performance of their business*
99.2% rated their apprenticeship as good or very good
99% Overall Learner satisfaction with SGS College
More apprentices getting hired
Rudzy Thomas, Plumbing Apprenticeship Level 2
Rudzy Thomas is currently undertaking a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Plumbing at SGS College. Working with employer NKS, the 19 year olds main duties are centred around disability adaptations, something which he thoroughly enjoys.
Rudzy has been at SGS for nearly 4 years now starting off with a Route 16 course in 2011 after not getting on well at school and leaving early. He progressed to a full time level 1 Plumbing course where he began to flourish and then went on to the Level 2 the following year.
In 2014 Rudzy started to work with NKS as a labourer which was demanding but he enjoyed it. After a year the employer was so impressed with him they asked if he wanted to undertake an apprenticeship which commenced in September 2015.
Rudzy comments: “I love what I do. SGS College and NKS have shown me the career path I want to take. There is no doubt that the apprenticeship route was for me. I have been supported every step of the way. I feel very lucky and look forward to the future.”
Tutor Dave Quinton added: “Rudzy is an inspiration to other students. Since leaving school he has gone the distance and turned his life around. He is a credit to himself and the College.”
Alexandra Eden, Business Administration Apprenticeship Level 3
25-year-old Alex Eden from Yate, started an Apprenticeship in Business Administration in the summer of 2013.
Alex, who studies and works at SGS College’s Filton Campus, works within the College’s Suited Booted Recruited (SBR) team, which provides tailored courses that help people get back into employment.
Alex initially met her colleagues when she was a participant of the course. SBR Tutor, Louise Slessor said: “Alex was one of my students on the SBR course and she was a delight to teach. Her motivation and enthusiasm rubbed off on the other students and her witty sense of humour made the two-week course really fun for all of us; so when the team decided to recruit an Administration Apprentice she was the first person I thought of. I knew she would be a huge asset to our team and I was not wrong. She builds amazing rapport with all of our learners and partners and has become an integral member of the team. ”
Since starting her apprenticeship at the College Alex has completed the level 2 and 3 qualification and has now gained full time employment as a Traineeship Co-Ordinator.
Alex comments: “I was thrilled when my two weeks on the Suited Booted Recruited course turned into a full time Apprenticeship and I have learned so much over the last two years. The level 3 was a lot more challenging, but it was worth it and my team supported me along the way. I've made some great friends here at the College and I enjoy going to work every day; it makes you feel so accomplished when you get feedback from learners saying that the course has really increased their confidence. Looking to the future, I am hoping I to achieve a level 4 NVQ in Business Administration, which would be equivalent to degree level, and I would quite like to be a PA if I get the chance!”
Eric Sanders, Business Administration Level 3 Apprenticeship/Economic Development Officer
Eric, 20, from Downend, joined the council in the role of Economic Development Officer as part of his Business Administration apprenticeship.
Eric says: “I found out about the apprenticeship scheme on the council’s website and applied via www.apprenticeships.org.uk. I really wanted to do an apprenticeship as I believe they are an excellent way to get work experience, as well as a widely recognised qualification.
“I’m fitting in well. Everyone I’ve met has been very friendly and welcoming. All the members of the economic development team, and colleagues across the council, have made themselves readily available to help me if I have any questions.
“In my first week I learnt the initial processes for planning an event in the community, our intranet, learning e-module and policies and Abdul (Choudhury) has given me an insight into the Enterprise areas and inward investment. I have also started to become involved with granting film permits.
“I am looking forward to becoming a valuable member of the team, and obtaining good work experience which will improve my career prospects and increase my employability.
Community Enterprise Officer George Kousouros has been mentoring Eric and told us: “His progress since joining us has made him an integral part of our very dynamic team. Eric has been involved in a wide variety of work, from event planning to establishing occupancy and recording of business premises in a number of sites across South Gloucestershire. Eric played a key role in organising our recent Armed Forces Day event which attracted almost 7000 visitors, dealing with site logistics, participants and support on the day with the setting up and site management. He has performed excellently.”
Alice Perryman, Business Administration Level 2 Apprenticeship/FOI & Complaints Officer, South Gloucestershire Council
Alice joined the council in March as a FOI & Complaints Support Officer as part of her current studies to gain a Level 2 Business Administration qualification.
Alice is from Kingswood and her role is based in the Customer and Transactional Services division, in the Civic Centre.
Alice said: “I heard about the apprenticeship scheme via the apprenticeship website www.apprenticeships.org.uk and was really interested in what it had to offer. I’ve settled in really well – I was a bit nervous at first but the team are great and there is plenty of work to do and I’m happy to have been able to jump straight into my role.
“In my first week I supported the team by dealing with varied customer enquiries including the new garden waste arrangements. I am now moving onto handling and recording customer feedback.
“I am really looking forwards to working with a range of different people, learning new skills and improving my existing skills.”
Jamie-Renée Cooke, Leadership and Management
Jamie-Renée Cooke, 21, started her apprenticeship with South Gloucestershire Council last year. She is undertaking a Level 4 leadership and management course with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS).
Jamie works in the Economic Development Team at the council offices in Yate. The team is responsible for promoting South Gloucestershire and the West of England to the business community and encouraging new business to invest in the region.
Jamie explains: ‘I didn't want to go to university, because I knew it wasn't for me, but I wanted to continue to learn, so the apprenticeship seemed to be the perfect option.
‘Whilst working and learning new skills at South Gloucestershire Council, I also attend college one morning a week studying for the Institute in Leadership and Management at Level 4.
‘For me it gives me fantastic on the job experience alongside the qualifications which will help me to progress my career. I enjoy the combination of work and studying that an apprenticeship offers. The support I have from fellow colleagues is brilliant and no two days are the same.
Jamie secured a permanent role with the council last year when she began her Level 4 higher apprenticeship, having already passed a Level 3 advanced apprenticeship in Business Administration the previous year, working for a partner organisation.
George Kousouros, Community Enterprise Officer and Jamie’s line manager said: ‘Apprenticeships are very rewarding for both the employees and the employer.
‘For us it is fantastic to have enthusiastic young people to join the teams to offer help, support and fresh ideas.
‘And for them, it provides them with the perfect opportunity to gain experience and qualifications while getting paid.’
Rosie Pickering - completed a Customer Service Apprenticeship Level 3 based in the Customer Contact Centre, Kingswood Civic Centre
23-year-old Rosie Pickering from Thornbury began an Advanced Apprenticeship in Customer Services at South Gloucestershire Council’s Customer Contact Centre last year and after successfully completing her apprenticeship she has now been appointed as a full time Customer Care Officer.
She said: “I left school entirely unsure of what it was I wanted to do or study. I opted for part-time work whilst I took the time to figure this out. This set me up well for a Customer Service Apprenticeship as I gained experience dealing with varied complaints and queries.”
“One of the best aspects of a Customer Service Apprenticeship is that whilst I faced new challenges, I learned new skills that can be applied to any job the future may hold," she added.
Rosie took time out to attend college one morning each week to gain qualifications in Maths and English. “It felt so rewarding to be putting my mind to the tasks and filling my time with something that feels worthwhile. I feel the apprenticeship was a perfect place to start building my career and would advise anyone who is unsure what direction to go in that this is a good place to start expanding knowledge and gaining personal skills.”
Mick Jenkins, Customer Services Supervisor, has been mentoring Rosie and said: “Working with Rosie has been a pleasure. She is keen to learn and develop the skills needed for a career in customer services. In a short space of time Rosie has gained new skills, knowledge and, most importantly, experience of dealing with customers in a contact centre environment. Not only has her skills and knowledge grown, but so has her confidence as well.”
Andrew Cambridge, 21, from Downend, Business Administration Level 3, Print Services, Kingswood Civic Centre, South Gloucesterhsire Council
Adam Williams, Mark King and Andrew Cambridge
Andrew has completed his apprenticeship and is now working as a full-time Print Pack and Despatch Assistant in Print Services in Kingswood Civic Centre. He said: ”I left sixth form and I was looking for jobs and then I saw this opportunity. I’m really enjoying it and would like to stay working for the council.”
Our Head of Street Care Mark King, who started out as an apprentice, has given his backing to the scheme. After leaving school, Mark got a job as an apprentice tool maker at a factory in the West Midlands.
His boss took him under his wing and encouraged him to go to university where he studied civil engineering. He said: “I left school with few qualifications and didn’t really know what I wanted to do but I am really grateful that my experience gained while working as an apprentice helped me to focus on what I wanted to do. If you’re a young person or a parent with a child who is unsure of their future direction, then why not look in to becoming an apprentice?”
Mark helped to recruit Adam Williams, 18, from Yate who started a three year mechanics apprenticeship at our Broad Lane depot.
Adam said: “I was interested in doing an apprenticeship because its more ‘hands on’ and I learn better when I’m doing the job.
"My mum also works for the council and she went about finding out more about what apprenticeship opportunities were available. I was lucky enough to complete a weeks work experience here not that long ago so I had an idea of what to expect.
"I really do enjoy it. I enjoy the variety of the apprenticeship role. I am learning and meeting new friends both in the workshop and at college. I have recently learnt about basic mechanics and health and safety.
"Every six weeks I attend college for a week so I’ll complete my maths and English functional skills as part of the apprenticeship. So I get the best of both worlds – learning at college and learning doing a paid job.
"Everyone is really friendly at the depot and are always there to help me in the workplace. I have a manager who I speak to each day and helps me out with everyday things but all my work colleagues are very approachable and I am not afraid to ask them about anything. I also get one-to-one support from colleagues. I’m given helpful feedback on my performance and on the jobs I’ve completed. This makes me feel like I’m really part of the team and all working together.
"In the future I would like to be a qualified mechanic and ideally running my own garage. I’m really enjoying the apprenticeship and would definitely recommend it."