South Staffordshire College has secured two large Horticulture apprenticeship contracts with over 80 places for promising trainees.
The apprentice programme will run for 15 months with 62 places at Stoke Council and 20 at grounds maintenance company Greenfingers. The College has been associated with both businesses for three years, providing quality apprentices who undertake specialist horticultural maintenance work, essential to work and training within the sector.
Work Force Development Land-based Manager, John Renshaw, says the work has allowed the College repeat business on a large scale: “Although both Stoke Council and Greenfingers are in the catchment area of other training providers they are really happy with the quality of the service we have provided and we have been able to develop this opportunity.”
The apprentices will be delivered at their places of work where classroom facilities have been provided to ensure continued teaching.
There will be a combination of valuable and necessary training and outcomes including gaining a nationally recognised qualification, development in all aspects of horticultural work and good health and safety practices. Delivery of key and basic skills will help strengthen the candidates’ numeracy and literacy adding to practical abilities such as First Aid and related Spraying certificates together with plant and machinery knowledge.
Apprenticeships form a major part of the College’s drive to provide the most effective bridgehead between the worlds of education and employment, offering the opportunity to learn valuable practical and business skills, to get a qualification and to earn money all at the same time.
Apprentices are seen as vital to the workforce as many of them will continue to receive hands-on training with the opportunity to progress through to senior managerial positions. These apprentices are among a much sought after group which can fill the skills-shortage gap still identified by some employers.
Latest data from South Staffordshire College covers the academic year 2009/2010 and shows that 91% of its leavers go into employment, university or work where further training is involved. With four campuses, in Cannock, Lichfield, Tamworth and Rodbaston, the College offers largely vocational courses for a very wide range of trades and professions from engineering and construction through social care, hairdressing, accounting, the creative and media industries to land-based activities and animal care.