Stephen Lloyd MP brushed up on his bricklaying and retail skills last week(Wednesday 28 August) thanks to apprentice training with Sussex Downs College.
The MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, who is a passionate supporter of apprenticeships, spent the day job working with Eastbourne-based apprentices employed by local businesses.
Mr Lloyd began his day bright and early under the guidance of Joe White, a 19 year-old bricklaying apprentice employed by local construction firm Colbran & Wingrove. Joe, who is just about to start the third year of his apprenticeship training with the College, put the MP through his paces with a series of bricklaying techniques at the firm’s base in Eastbourne.
He then spent the afternoon at children’s shop The Funky Viking based in The Arndale Centre, where he worked under the direction of 20 year-old former Apprentice of the Year Abbey Fenton.
Abbey is now Assistant Manager at the store, after successfully completing a retail Apprenticeship with them and the College.
Mr Lloyd said, “Today has been about me experiencing two completely different areas of Apprenticeships. In the morning I was with the construction Colbran & Wingrove, learning how to build a brick wall completely from scratch – something I’ve never done before. And the afternoon was all about retail Apprenticeships, where I helped out at children’s shop, The Funky Viking, who have been really supportive of the Apprenticeship scheme right from the start.”
Mr Lloyd was the first MP to launch the 100 Apprentices in 100 Days initiative after the 2010 General Election, and its success had a very positive response in Eastbourne and kicked started many other similar Apprenticeship drives across the UK.
He added, “The MP’s Commission along with Sussex Downs College, the Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce and Council worked really closely with local businesses and made an enormous difference to the recruiting of new Apprenticeships in Eastbourne over the past three years. The town has taken on an incredible 2,500 new apprentices since 2010; and that’s all be done in the middle of a recession. Something Eastbourne can rightly take real pride from.
“The reason apprenticeships work is very simple – they lead to jobs. More than 90% of people who successfully complete Apprenticeships with Sussex Downs College progress to sustained, full-time employment. And 3-4 years after completing an Apprenticeship, research shows show that you will often earn more than those who went straight into employment without training via the Apprenticeship route.”
Sussex Downs College currently has many local employers with apprenticeship vacancies waiting to be filled. New positions are available weekly and anyone interested in becoming an apprentice can visit www.sussedowns.ac.uk