New apprentices get a foot on the career ladder

Tuesday, 06 October 2009

Brookes has helped six young people to get a foot on the career ladder and earn while learning.

Oxford Brookes University has helped six young people to get a foot on the career ladder and to earn while learning, through the new Brookes apprenticeship scheme. The recruits are gaining valuable hands on experience in their chosen fields of horticulture, catering, decorating and administration, while receiving training through Brookes’ further education partners, Abingdon and Witney College and Oxford and Cherwell Valley College.

The scheme which has just been launched, is ahead of the government’s recent pledge to provide extra apprenticeships in a bid to help young people gain jobs in the present economic climate.

Ben Miller, aged 20, from Abingdon, who was laid off from his roofing job due to the current recession, appreciates the opportunity to undertake an apprenticeship in horticulture. ‘The scheme is brilliant’, he said. ‘It has given me great confidence and the staff are always there to help. It is such a friendly environment at Brookes.’

Caroline Gilbert, aged 19 of Combe near Witney agrees. Caroline who is doing an apprenticeship in administration says: ‘It is a great opportunity. I was unemployed for six months and found that not many organisations are employing people my age as they often ask for experience. This is my chance to get on the first rung of the career ladder and to prove myself.’

Brookes apprenticeships are in line with the model promoted by the government’s national apprenticeship scheme. The apprentices study national vocational qualifications (NVQs) at level two or three over two years, equipping them to enter the world of work, either at Brookes or externally as fully trained and professional apprentices. At level three, which is equivalent to A level, apprentices are also equipped to undertake degree level courses. Harley Mace, aged 18, from Headington, Oxford, who is also a horticulture apprentice, finds this chance for career development inspiring. He commented: ‘I want to get my qualification and see how far I can go with it, maybe taking a further course if possible.’

Brookes Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Beer said: ‘We are delighted to be running the new apprenticeship scheme in partnership with local colleges. Together we are providing opportunities for people setting out on their careers to gain nationally recognised qualifications. It also allows Brookes to plan for its future skills needs while encouraging the talent of our recruits’ She added ‘We hope to expand the scheme next year following the success of this pilot project’