South West Highways Ltd: driving forward excellence in apprenticeships
After achieving its National Skills Academy for Construction status in September 2013, South West Highways is a leading force in recruiting, developing and employing construction apprentices. The organisation now trains apprentices from all over Devon as well as other areas of the country thanks to its strong reputation and above-average pass rate for its apprentices.
The apprenticeship course at South West Highways is a mixture of classroom learning and assessed practical skills with each candidate gaining vital skills necessary to help maintain the UK road network. On passing the Apprenticeship, delegates will also be awarded an NVQ Level 2 in Highways Maintenance (Construction) – Excavation Operations.
South West Highways is currently supporting 20 apprentices and has now seen a total of 189 young people take up its training scheme. Two apprentices achieved prestigious awards including Most Promising Apprentice in the South West by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) and the acclaimed City & Guilds Medal for Excellence.
Explaining the company’s passion for apprenticeships and the value that apprentices bring to their business, Anna Cooper, Project Skills Coordinator, South West Highways said: “We recognise that the future of our business relies on having a safe, professional and fully qualified workforce as our valuable existing workforce retires. Offering Apprenticeships is a great way to reach out to young people who, for a number of different reasons, had not considered construction as a realistic career option before and get them interested.
“We are passionate about supporting young people as they make the transition into the world of work and find their feet. Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to secure an opportunity to work for a real employer, earning a real salary and gaining a real qualification whilst also gaining valuable workplace skills.”
One of the Devon-based apprentices that is currently undertaking the two year Highways Maintenance Apprenticeship with South West Highways is Hamileen Penfold, 17, from South Molton. Hamileen works for his family business J Penfold Tarmacadam and feels he has gained an incredible amount from his apprenticeship. He explains: “I would recommend the construction industry to anyone. I will be completing my apprenticeship in July 2015 thanks to the support SWH has given to me with my numeracy & literacy. I have learnt so much and now have some qualifications. It has also helped to improve my social skills as I have met so many new people along the way.”
For more information, please visit South West Highways’ training page.