National Apprenticeship Week is here and this year the theme is “Skills for Life”. Encouraging everyone to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals develop skills and knowledge for a rewarding career, and employers to develop a workforce with future ready skills.

Become an apprentice

Apprenticeships are a great way to develop a broad range of experience, build confidence and kick start a journey of professional learning and development. Many employers from across the county, including the county council have apprenticeships available.

Find out more about apprenticeships at East Sussex County Council and check out the apprenticeships roles available right now.

Taking on an apprentice

Businesses have a lot to gain from taking on an apprentice. The Transform project, funded by the county council and European Social Fund money, was launched in 2021. It aims to increase the take up and knowledge of apprenticeships, traineeships and skills training among small to medium enterprises (SMEs) across the county. We spoke to some East Sussex based businesses about the value apprentices bring to their organisations.

The future is bright

Polegate based electrical firm CDS Electrical regularly has one or two apprentices working for the company.

Graeme Turner, a Senior Electrical Engineer with the business, said: “Our organisation has benefited hugely from the Transform programme. We always have one or two electrical apprentices, and we benefit because the funding is all paid for.

“Without training up the youth of today there’ll be nobody else to take our place. And for a company it’s vital – you’re investing in the youth of  today.”

Transform has greatly helped our business. It means we can take more apprentices on and further our business.”

Harrison Bullard is one of CDS Electrical’s Installation and Maintenance Electrical Apprentices. Harrison said: “An apprenticeship is such a beneficial thing for young people. There’s always support and if you get stuck there is always someone you can call.”

Hear more from Graeme and Harrison in this short film:

Progress your career

Defiant Sports in Eastbourne offers inclusive sporting opportunities for children and adults who face barriers to participation due to disabilities or long-term conditions.

To date, the company has facilitated two coaching apprenticeships with support from Transform.

Loretta Lock, CEO at Defiant Sports, said: “We want to grow a workforce we can support and help so for us to be able to offer the apprenticeship has been really important. Having both the funding and knowledge available to us has been incredibly helpful.

“We’d like to keep having an apprentice every time one finishes so we’re getting more and more young people involved in coaching and accessibility, as well as supporting them into careers they can benefit from and enjoy.”

Aaron Bishop completed a Community Activator Coach Level 2 apprenticeship with Defiant Sports and is now a Coaching Supervisor with the company.

Aaron said: “The apprenticeship allowed me to expand my coaching knowledge through training courses and I have now been brought on full time. The apprenticeship was very easy to go through.”

Hear more from Loretta and Aaron in this short film:

Support for businesses

The Transform Skills Toolkit provides a step-by-step guide for businesses thinking of taking on an apprentice or investing in other skills training.  It helps SMEs understand what opportunities are available and how to access them, and looks at the benefits and opportunities of investing in skills development. It also highlights key workforce planning questions businesses may want to consider, as well as listing support agencies and websites that can provide further information and advice.

If you’re thinking about taking on an apprentice and would like more information contact Transform at East Sussex County Council.