23rd March 2016
SOUTH DEVON COLLEGE were delighted to welcome Nick Boles MP, Minister of State jointly for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education, on Friday 18th March 2016.
Mr Boles visited South Devon College as part of his UK tour during National Apprenticeships Week, to see first-hand the work of leading further education colleges and talk to apprentices, staff and employers. He was welcomed by College Vice Principal, Laurence Frewin and members of the Senior Management Team with an introduction to South Devon College, its track record and its ambition for the future. This was followed by meeting a range of current apprentices and a tour of the excellent Campus and facilities that South Devon College have to support local businesses and learners. Mr Boles spoke to a number of Higher Apprentices and their employers from the NHS, AAT and Spirent, discussing the aims for higher skills and employment opportunities that benefit both the apprentice and the employer.
The next part of the tour took Mr Boles to the Construction department where he visited the Paint & Decorating Workshop, Carpentry Workshop and the Brickwork Hall to talk to a number of the current Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices and hear about their progress and aspirations. He was particularly interested in the development of more management level construction career opportunities as part of studying an apprenticeship in construction, for example Site Management or Sustainable Construction.
He met Linden Homes, part of the Galliford Try Group, who launched a specialised training and education hub (with National Skills Academy for Construction status) at White Rock in Paignton last year, with support from South Devon College, enabling schools, trainees and apprentices to learn key trades.
Greg Fitzgerald, Chairman for Galliford Try, has climbed the ranks since he began his career as an apprentice, and also had the opportunity to talk with Mr Boles during his visit. He commented: “National Apprenticeship Week provides a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase the excellent work taking place on our sites while giving young people an insight into what a career in construction has to offer.
“Across Linden Homes we currently have 220 apprentices through the supply chain, who are mainly site based and specialise in drylining, groundworks, tiling, scaffolding, plastering, bricklaying and carpentry. A further 70 apprentices are directly employed by the company and include technical apprentices, infrastructure surveyors and construction management. We also employ 123 graduates throughout the regions and have pledged to create more apprenticeships within our company.
“I’m incredibly passionate about young people having the opportunities that I had and getting a skill under your belt will set you up for life for a career in construction and housebuilding.”
The visit then culminated in a hands on visit to the Automotive Centre, where he took part in helping design a car bonnet, part of an annual tradition at the College undertaken by the Automotive students. Once the bonnets are finished they will be put on display from the 18th April for the annual competition and judged for the best design. He met and chatted with a number of students studying a range of automotive courses at the College (including Vehicle Refinishing, Vehicle Maintenance and Repair, Light Vehicle and Diagnostic Repair). Two South Devon College Editorial Apprentices (Zoe Stephens and Hannah Maltwood) who work for the Herald Express had a unique opportunity to interview the Minster, asking a number of very engaging and well thought out questions. Finally, Mr Boles visited the brand new South Devon College Job Shop, which is a bespoke service designed to help students prepare for employment by helping them find current job roles (part time, full time or apprenticeships), preparing for interviews, successful CV writing and employability skills.
Laurence Frewin, South Devon College Vice Principal, said “We were delighted to be able to welcome the Minister to South Devon College as part of his tour during National Apprenticeships Week. It was a real privilege to be able to show him our wonderful apprentices, staff and campus. We are focussed on working with Torbay and South Devon businesses and the government’s productivity ambitions, and to help great local employers and employees thrive and grow. I am sure the Minister’s clear impression will be one of a strong and highly committed leading edge College with a key role in the future success of our local area.”
Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “South Devon College is equipping the region’s young people with the skills they need to build a career and that employers need to compete. I hope many more young people will be inspired to follow the path of the talented apprentices I met today.”
South Devon College has a successful and well established apprenticeship programme, providing work-based training to 1,250 apprentices of all ages and worked with nearly 700 employers in 2014/15. For more information on Apprenticeships at South Devon College, free advice and guidance and to find out about how they can help you with your next steps with your future, call free on 08000 380 123 or visit sdcdev.