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Apprenticeship scheme packs a punch

18 June 2010

As Government pledges 50,000 new apprenticeship places, and figures reveal one in six graduates regret accumulating student debts*, a packaging firm's established apprenticeship scheme is said to be benefiting local youngsters

Sharp Interpack started the scheme after identifying a shortage of good, young trainee engineers available to them and it has also created welcome employment and training opportunities for students in the area.

Sharp Interpack’s current crop of engineering apprentices, all from the City of Bristol College includes 20 year-old Luke Haddow, and Emma Carter and Becky Chidley, both 19. Emma and Becky are two of only three girls on the 60-strong student course.

Emma, who is studying for an HNC in electronics, became the company’s first engineering apprentice three years ago. She is currently working on a key cost-cutting exercise for the engineers.

She says, “I’ve enjoyed my time as an apprentice; I feel I’ve excelled at working as part of a team and I would like to stay at Sharp Interpack as an engineer once I’ve qualified”.

Becky is studying for an Electrical National Certificate in mechanical and electrical engineering. She joined the program at 17 and works predominantly on mini-projects with the shift electricians.

She says, “My mum wasn’t keen on me doing the apprenticeship; she felt I should go to university. But I didn’t want to get burdened with a large debt I would struggle to pay back. Now my mum sees me earning a salary whilst I learn a practical trade, and she agrees I made the right choice.”

Angela Jones, HR manager, Sharp Interpack, adds, “At Sharp Interpack we are always keen to support the community and providing local students with the skills and experience to take them forward with a successful career is a key part of that.

“It’s been fantastic to witness our apprentices learn and develop new skills, while proving to be a real asset for our company”.

* Figures from graduate recruitment company High Fliers Research


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