National Apprenticeship Week 2019 07 Mar 2019

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW2019) takes place 4 to 8 March 2019. This annual celebration of apprenticeships, now in its 12th year, will bring the whole apprenticeship community together to celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy. 

christeyns national apprenticeship week naw 2019 laundry.
Group shot of all the current apprentices together with Neville Kildunne (front), apprentice scheme mentor at Christeyns.

The theme for this year is "Blaze a Trail” which will feature throughout the week to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships to employers, individuals, local communities and the economy. As in previous years NAW2019 will see a range of activities and events being hosted across the country to show the number of high quality of apprenticeship opportunities available at all levels in a huge variety of sectors. Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said: “Blazing a trail is what being an apprentice is all about and will be our theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2019. Because that’s what’s happening up and down the country – apprentices and employers blazing a trail. “I want everyone to recognise the change that apprenticeships can bring - for employers blazing a trail to new markets, apprentices to new career opportunities and for colleges and training providers raising the skills levels for everyone.” 

Keith Smith, director, Education and Skills Funding Agency said: “I want the 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week to be the biggest and most successful, yet. “The theme for this year: Blaze a Trail is at the heart of what apprenticeships are all about. I really hope our partners feel as excited about it as we do and, like previous years, they will get fully behind the week. “We want everyone to consider hosting an event or activity so more people get to see and hear about the huge benefits apprenticeships can bring to employers, individuals and local communities.” National Apprenticeship Week 2018 was record-breaking, with 780 events taking place across England. 

The ambition of delivering a 10,000 talks movement - #10kTalks - to inspire the next generation of apprentices was exceeded, reaching over 33,500 people in over 300 schools across the country. A further 130 schools hosted teacher-to-teacher talks, reaching an additional 2,300 adults, to support them to talk to their students about apprenticeships. The Big Assembly reached 20,000 young people. The Big Assembly is a live video stream to thousands of students across the UK wanting to find out what an apprenticeship could mean for them. 

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Christeyns has a successful apprenticeship programme. Pictured Luke Chadwick (left), a former apprentice now full-time as a production planner, Lucy Duckworth, and Adam Brookfield, both taking part in the apprenticeship scheme

The apprentices holding The Big Assembly 2019 will be telling you about how to apply to an apprenticeship and what the process is like, what it’s like to be an apprentice and what your career holds at the end of the apprenticeship. Brought to you during National Apprenticeship Week (4th– 8th March 2019), the Big Assembly aims to get thousands of people online at the same time to learn what apprenticeships could do for them. Schools, young people, parents, careers advisors and employers from across the nation are invited at 10.30am, on 4 March 2019 to take part in The Big Assembly. All information, including supporting material, is available on the website.

Christeyns sees its role as mentor for tomorrow’s talent, running a comprehensive apprenticeship programme to nurture future industry influencers. Christeyns, who manufacture and supply detergents and suppor ting chemicals for the UK laundry sector, has been recruiting apprentices for the last six years. “We take at least two apprentices each year,” states apprentice scheme mentor Neville Kildunne, “beginning the recruitment process around May for a summer start. The selection process starts with a four week application phase handled by Appr is Management Ltd and out of this the strongest 12 candidates are invited to attend an apprentice selection day. The selection day is quite intense but it provides a real learning experience for all 12 who get through to this stage and they definitely gain invaluable experience about the element of competition and how to work as part of a team.” 

The full day selection process at Christeyns includes three interviews with various managers from the company, numeracy and literacy tests, psychometric testing and a team exercise. The strongest two candidates overall are then offered an apprenticeship. Initially the programme is a two year foundation apprenticeship which aims to give exposure to every process in the business including customer services, product ion, mai ntenance, warehouse, logistics, accounts, marketing, purchasing and sales. The main rationale behind this is to give a 360-degree view of the business to enable the apprentices to develop and demonstrate systemic thinking. 

During the last six months of the programme each apprentice is steered towards an area of the business in which they have shown the greatest potential. At the end of the foundation programme apprentices then often start a new apprenticeship with a professional qualification, for example an HNC Diploma in Electrical & Electronic Engineering or further apprenticeship training in another professional role. 

Christeyns’s goal is to offer permanent roles to all apprentices who go through their scheme. Kildunne, continues: “Apprenticeships are at the heart of our recruitment strategy at Christeyns and we are committed to developing the region’s future talent. Our apprentices also attend several events in the local area, which not only help to encourage other youngsters to consider an apprenticeship but also develop their own social and communication skills.” Providing young people with the right skills and opportunities is vital for the future prosperity of both Christeyns and the industry. There are currently seven apprentices undergoing various programmes at Christeyns. In addition, every year a chemistry student is offered a paid one-year placement with the Christeyns technical department. The company also offers general work experience opportunities for students from local schools on an ad hoc basis. 

Christeyns believes that supporting and encouraging today’s youth will produce the managers of tomorrow, giving them the tools and capabilities to take the industry forward. The management team continually monitor and make improvements to the apprenticeship programme to ensure it provides the right support and that the company is fully abreast of current educational and industry requirements. 

One success story from the Christeyns apprentice programme is Luke Chadwick – winner of Apprentice of the Year at the Laundry and Dry Cleaning Awards (LADAs) In November 2016. The 23-year-old has risen through the ranks and is currently involved in the planning department, as well as helping develop the firm’s apprentice scheme and mentor its members. He said: “Schools are required to keep people in higher education. I go out to careers fairs or with Ahead Partnership – they all put their hands up for university. “In general, I think they are one of the best options you can go for, I don’t think degrees are as sought after as perhaps they once were. “A lot of my friends are only coming out of university now and are struggling to get jobs or not working in graduate jobs. “I am already on a career path. If they were to apply for a role here they would be less likely to get it than me. “If you asked a lot of people working here they would probably say the apprentices are some of the most knowledgeable people as you have been everywhere, you have such a good understanding. “You know how you are affecting each colleague, you are making better judgements.” 

Lucy Duckworth, who joined the firm on a higher apprenticeship, said that apprenticeships would be ideal for many young people but are simply not given the same prominence as other options. “They do not really speak about apprenticeships,” the 19-year-old said. “I feel like I got pushed to university. But when I actually looked at apprenticeships I realised they were not what people say they are.” 

Fellow new starter, Adam Brookfield, also 19, added: “When I was at school I had no idea what an apprenticeship actually was. “You got an allotted hour a week to work on a UCAS form, most people did it to fill out the hour, there was no other option.”

You’ll find more news in the March edition of Laundry and Cleaning Today. Subscribe here for your copy:

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