Hounslow Borough Council leads the way with award-winning apprenticeship scheme in partnership with East Berkshire College
The London Borough of Hounslow is helping local people to launch their careers and improve their skills through an award-winning apprenticeship scheme in partnership with East Berkshire College.
Leading by example, the Council is a big advocate of apprenticeships and currently employs 27 apprentices, aged 17 to 51, in its property repairs and contracts teams. As well as expanding their knowledge and qualifications, the apprentices help to maintain over 16,000 homes across the borough.
The London Borough of Hounslow’s multi-award winning apprenticeship programme provides the apprentices with the opportunity to gain qualifications in a wide range of sectors including construction trades and business. Now in its fourth year, the scheme is going from strength to strength, recently winning Apprenticeship Company of the Year 2016 at the Spark Awards.
John Laparte (aged 20) is one of the individuals who started a carpentry apprenticeship through the Council and the College last September:
“Apprenticeships are good because they prepare you for real life and help you develop real skills. I have a mentor who is really good at explaining things and has helped build my confidence. Each day is different. I can be doing anything from general repairs to changing a front door. Every day, I feel that I am taking a step towards my future and working for the council makes me feel like I’m giving something back to the community as well.”
With apprenticeships now available from intermediate (Level 2) right through to higher apprenticeships (Level 4/5) and degree level, becoming an apprentice isn’t just for school leavers either.
Daniel Twyford (aged 34) is a multi-trade apprentice in the repairs and response team at the Council. Having worked as a carpenter at the Council for 13 years, he mentors new apprentices like John as well as adding to his own skills by undertaking a multi-trade apprenticeship.
Daniel explains: “The apprenticeship has given me the chance to expand my knowledge by going back to college. I was already a qualified carpenter, but now I’ve been able to gain skills in other areas such as bricklaying and roof tiling, which has given me more confidence to tackle a wider range of jobs at work. As a mentor, I’m also passing on my knowledge to other apprentices, who are just starting out.”
Sharon Nicholls, Trade Apprenticeship Co-ordinator at The London Borough of Hounslow, explains: “As a council, we are dedicated to supporting apprenticeships and providing local people with the chance to gain employment and skills. Our apprentices are really enjoying the chance to continue their learning and, as well as their studies at college, we provide additional in-house training, including courses in manual handling, first aid and money matters. All mentors also undertake a mentor training, so they know how to effectively support an apprentice.
“East Berkshire College works very much in partnership with us to tailor training to our needs, particularly with our more experienced employees. For example, the College organised for all the functional maths and English element of the course to be completed first, so our apprentices can now focus on their industry qualifications. We chose to work with the College because they were able to deliver the range of apprenticeship qualifications we required, now and in the future. Over the next few years, we hope to continue to expand our apprenticeship scheme, particularly in terms of higher level apprenticeships.”
The Council promotes apprenticeships both internally and externally throughout the borough. Through its 106 agreements with developers, it encourages and supports developers to hire apprentices.
Further demonstrating its commitment to investing in its employees and local residents, the Council is also working with East Berkshire College in Langley to upskill its team of caretakers. The College, which has been delivering apprenticeships for over 40 years, has devised a special training programme for 12 caretakers employed by the Council.
As well as the more traditional trade-based apprenticeships, East Berkshire College offers a range of apprenticeships in areas such as Business Administration, Accounting, Science, Engineering and Hospitality & Catering. An increasing range of new higher apprenticeships (Level 4) are also available, offering a more affordable and convenient alternative to university.