Celebrating vital role of apprentices

Mayor of Eastbourne Cllr Carolyn Heaps with apprentice Rob Strange, of Home Developments, learning bricklaying skills
Mayor of Eastbourne Cllr Carolyn Heaps with apprentice Rob Strange, of Home Developments, learning bricklaying skills

THE achievements of apprenticeships and the vital role apprentices play in businesses across the town has been celebrated at Sussex Downs College.

From bricklaying to hairdressing, the college offers a number of apprenticeships where people work for employers in and around Eastbourne and study at the same time.

The mayor of Eastbourne Carolyn Heaps visited the college during National Apprenticeship Week to meet apprentices and also tried her hand at bricklaying, hairdressing and plumbing.

She met hairdressing apprentice Evangeline Faunch, a 16-year-old former Cavendish School pupil, who is now undertaking a level 2 NVQ apprentice programme with Zoe Stapp from Classics Hair Salon in Cornfield Road.

She said, “I first came to college from school and did day release and I really enjoyed it. After I finished school I got a job in a hairdressers.

“The reason I went for this was that I get the best of both worlds working in a real salon and coming to college to learn the theory and the practical which gives me a better learning chance.

“It is really good coming to college and meeting other students my age and also it is a change from going into work as the day is different as we do practical in the morning and theory in the afternoon.

“Sometimes we work in the salon all day doing hair which is great and I can create the styles that I have been practising over the past few weeks, or learn something new that I need to practice.My ambition is to work hard and hopefully become a successful hairdresser and I would really like to get into theatrical hair and see where this takes me.”

Sussex Downs College has recently re-launched its apprenticeship web pages at www.sussexdowns.ac.uk/apprentice with a tool kit of information which will help to raise the profile of apprenticeships so more people understand what they are.

The college wants to help employers create apprenticeship opportunities and encourage new students to start on the apprenticeship journey.

Other events were organised by Training Providers South East, a newly launched subsidiary company of Baldwin Training Centre, which specialises in training for the health and social care sector.

Eastbourne’s MP Stephen Lloyd was also among the visitors to the events that were held over two days at the Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club.

Events included a training session about equality and diversity in the workplace and an open day to promote apprenticeships and training to people of all ages and from all walks of life.

There was also an awards evening to mark the achievement of individual learners and the official launch of TPSE.

Forty four balloons, one for each apprentice who achieved last year, were launched over Sovereign Harbour to symbolise the event’s Moving Up theme.

Lynette Baldwin, managing director of Btc, said, “National Apprenticeship Week was a great time to launch the new company and it was fantastic to meet so many people thinking about a change in direction and also to celebrate with those who have embraced training, overcome barriers and been successful in their chosen path.”

Btc was launched in 2002 by Lynette and husband Andrew Baldwin and now employs a 25-strong team which has enabled more than 2,000 care employees based in more than 130 care organisations to achieve NVQ qualifications.