Our apprentices are building - and saving - lives

Picture of apprentice in hospital setting

Life-savers: Apprentices work in our health service - Credit: South Devon College

There’s no stopping apprenticeships at South Devon College. 

Currently 1,600 apprentices and over 1,000 employers are supported by the college. 

This week’s National Apprenticeship Week recognises that even in these uncertain and challenging times, apprentices are playing a vital role in stimulating the economy and adding to the productivity of a wide range of businesses, and also helping save lives in various health and care settings.  

All in addition to gaining invaluable experience and qualifications that can set them up for a lifetime of success. 

The theme for NAW is ‘Build the Future’ and the college has had a wide range of virtual events with that focus. 

These events have included school sessions to inspire the next generation, apprentice case studies that gave insight on real student experiences and employer case studies highlighting the successes businesses have had working with the College on apprenticeships. 

The Torbay Business Forum also hosted a special instalment for NAW of their Breakfast Byte series -which included a chat with Torbay Weekly apprentice Tamla Thornton – as well as continuous activity across the college’s social media channels. 

Logo for Apprenticeship Week

College and apprenticeships go hand in hand - Credit: South Devon College

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Some of the college’s apprentices include Senior Healthcare Support Workers who are currently working under extreme pressure whilst also completing a demanding apprenticeship.  

They work in a variety of inpatient and outpatient departments, including ED, theatres and ICU. Demonstrating their strength, resilience and determination, they’re working full time as key workers whilst also remaining committed to their course. Cohort 3 not only completed their apprenticeship but did so with excellent results, three passes and nine distinctions. 

The college has also seen a great increase in the requirement of construction apprentices in line with the large-scale investment taking place in the local community and the developments that are taking place, such as the Fragrance Group’s hotesl on Paignton Seafront. 

Employers working with the college discussed how apprenticeships have benefited them. 

Andrew Addison, from Cavanna Homes, said: “We’ve chosen to invest in apprenticeships as we’re a family business and one of the key parts of running a family business is bringing through the next generation of loyal employees. 

“It benefits the wider local community supporting apprenticeships on our patch and keeps opportunities local. It’s fulfilling seeing young people succeed within the business and grow.” 

Sam Fraser from Devon Doctors Ltd, said: “Having apprentices has helped massively. It helps us think about succession planning for people of the future, it brings new ideas into the organisation, and it helps keep ideas fresh. 

“It’s been vital in providing higher level apprentices at managerial level, complementing our senior management team, but also within our HR department as we regularly use the college for our CIPD courses.” 

Gary Brenton, from Wollens solicitors, said: “The role that apprentices play in our business; I can put into two areas. One is new roles and new positions within the firm. What we do when we take anyone on is, we think ‘could an apprentice do that role? Is it an opportunity to bring someone new into the business and develop them into our ways of doing things and train them too?’ 

“The other area is developing existing people within the firm. Looking at the people you have in your teams and seeing whether they and your business would benefit from developing and training them further.” 

He endorsed the college and its apprenticeship team saying: “They’ve really supported us delivering apprenticeships. They have professional members of staff who take you through the whole process and the support is there for the employee. Two of our members of staff are going through exams at the moment and they are on hand to support every step of the way for them.” 

The college’s University Centre provides a range of higher and degree apprenticeships that will see students graduate with a degree whilst also working in their roles. 

For more information, visit southdevon.ac.uk.