Members of our executive team donned PPE, cleaned teeth, catered for hundreds of diners and more as they got to experience the work apprentices undertake on a daily basis.
The initiative, part of our activity in support of National Apprenticeship Week, showed not only what prospective apprentices can expect, but also highlights the fact that anyone can be an apprentice – one of this year’s key themes.
“I never thought I would be cleaning teeth one day, and then handling a snake a couple of days later, but that really shows the breadth of courses and career opportunities that apprenticeships offer.”
Our executive team became ‘apprentices’ themselves, to better understand the work that apprentices undertake and dispel the myth that apprenticeships are ‘easy’.
Shaun Cook, Vice Principal for Curriculum, was invited to try his hand at dentistry and worked with Firth Park Dental in Sheffield, with whom we run the Dental Nurse Level 3 Apprenticeship.
Shaun also spent time with Warehousing and Logistics apprentices at ASOS supply chain partner GXO, and students at Wigfield Farm – where the College runs Horticulture and Landscape apprenticeships and is set to run an Animal Care T-Level from September 2024.
Shaun said: “I’ve really enjoyed getting a hands-on experience alongside our apprentices, and it’s been a valuable insight into both their chosen professions and learning experiences. I never thought I would be cleaning teeth one day, and then handling a snake a couple of days later, but that really shows the breadth of courses and career opportunities that apprenticeships offer.
“What has struck me the most over the past week, having had the pleasure of meeting various apprentices from some completely different areas, is the commitment, knowledge and level of expertise they show already.
“These courses give them some great hands-on experience and mean they are well on their way to going straight into skilled employment after their apprenticeship, and with the continuing support of their employers and the education experience provided by Barnsley College, I am sure that as long as they can continue to show a desire to learn, and a fair amount of hard graft, all those who I have been lucky enough to meet this week will do extremely well within their chosen career paths.”
Adrian Vasile of Firth Park Dental added: “Dental nurse apprenticeships are crucial for building a skilled and competent workforce that contributes to the overall success of dental healthcare services by ensuring high-quality patient care, maintaining safety standards, and fostering continuous professional development.
“These apprentices play a pivotal role in maintaining high standards of care, ensuring a positive patient experience, and contributing to the overall success of the dental practice.
“It was great to welcome Shaun in to learn more about how valuable our apprentices are to the clinical, administrative, and patient care aspects of the practice.”
Amongst the executive members who took part in the activity was Principal and CEO, David Akeroyd. David went to observe apprentices at Wombwell-based firm, Freshpak – one of the country’s leading chilled food providers. Freshpak works with Barnsley College to offer the Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technician Level 3 and Team Leader/Supervisor Level 3 apprenticeships.
We also employ our own apprentices, with David and Vice Principal for Students, Jess Leech, also experiencing the work of Catering and Hairdressing apprentices respectively. Sue Slassor, Vice Principal for Quality, also spent some time in the kitchen with Catering apprentices.
David said: “Having gained an insight into several apprenticeships throughout the week, I can safely say undertaking an apprenticeship is incredibly rewarding and no mean feat – particularly, as in my case, when you’re catering for hundreds of diners on a busy afternoon.
“We regularly hear from local employers about how valuable apprentices quickly become to their business. As they learn and bring their enthusiasm and energy and contribute fresh ideas to transform how things are done. An apprenticeship is really as rewarding as the student wants it to be, depending on how much work they are prepared to put in.
“Creating strong links with industry is key to the success of not only the apprenticeships themselves, but to that of our students – who go on to become engaged, proactive, and valuable employees.
“The value and potential apprenticeships have to ensure the future workforce meets the needs of the local economy is staggering.”
Simon Thompson, Learning and Development Manager at Freshpak, said: “It was great to host David from the Barnsley College executive team here at Freshpak.
“Our apprentices showed the team what they have learnt at the college and how they have used their knowledge and brought it into the workplace – growing in confidence, skills and knowledge they have gained through the apprenticeship program.
“David spent time with Andrei who is currently on a MOET Level 3 course and Diogo who is on the Level 3 Supervisor course.
“Our apprentices spoke about the passion they have for the jobs they are doing and how the courses they are on are improving their work skills.”
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Last updated: 7th February 2024
Originally posted on: 7th February 2024