South Staffordshire College runs 700 apprenticeships and has been getting up to date with the progress of some of its recent apprentice graduates.
Many of their stories are inspirational and a real encouragement to those who are currently considering an apprenticeship or companies thinking about training their employees.
Phil McEwen¹s story is an object lesson in how vocational education, along with determination and strength of character, help to overcome adversity.
Phil enrolled at South Staffordshire College to study Health and Social Care at level 2. Naturally quiet and lacking outward confidence Phil was also dyslexic. Nevertheless he successfully completed his basic key skills literacy and numeracy; also his technical certificate and NVQ at level 2.
He then developed an ambition to go on to university to study nursing and changed his job from care homes to working in a hospital theatre.
Working with South Staffordshire College sector leader Mandy Harrison included taking extra tuition and his determination to go on to level 3 standards was supported by the College. Now with success at the required standards behind him he has been accepted onto a Nursing degree course at Birmingham University, achieving his ambition despite the difficulties along
the way. Chris Sharrard is the apprentice who liked the business so much he bought it! His story also shows what personal commitment can achieve, when combined with close mentoring from dedicated teaching staff.
Chris joined an apprenticeship programme with South Staffordshire College at age 16. Quiet and unassuming he nevertheless was a willing contributor in class and was always prepared when visited at work by his College assessor.
He made steady progress, achieving his FMA (Foundation Modern Apprenticeships), a distinction in City and Guilds 2330 level 3 Technical certificate and went on to complete hisAMA (Advanced) award.
Since taking ownership of his former employer¹s business at the tender age of twenty, Chris has become the youngest qualifying manager for the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) and presided over a growing, profitable business with 10 staff and 6 sub-contractors.
Along the way he won both Staffordshire Apprentice of the Year and the Personal Achievement Award in the 19-24 age group.
Apprenticeships at South Staffordshire College offer learners like Phil and Chris a mix of practical, vocational and academic skills which enable everyone to find the best in themselves.