“We are thrilled to offer this work based training to local young people.It is a big commitment both for us and the apprentices as we work together to help them on their career path and to fulfil their potential,” says Nikki Forward, Head of Human Resources at Ocean.“We support all our apprentices throughout their work based training with the aim of them achieving NVQ Level 3, the equivalent to A Levels, in their chosen trade.It is extremely rewarding to watch the young people grow in confidence as they develop their skills in the workplace.”
In the last decade Ocean has invested in excess of £ 200 million in Cornwall and apprenticeships are an important part of its support for the local economy by providing employment and training.“As a social landlord we take our responsibilities towards our residents and the wider community very seriously,” explains Nikki. “We want to give these young people living in Cornwall the best possible start to their working lives, teaching them practical skills and also encouraging them to turn their aspirations into reality.”
Nikki believes apprenticeships are an excellent way for Ocean to develop its own talent and many of its previous apprentices now have full time employment within the Housing Group: “We are extremely proud that Luke Rowe, one of our carpentry apprentices, has been with us since he was fourteen on a day release from Penrice School.Earlier this year he was a finalist for the regional Young Apprentice of the Year 2010 and successfully applied for a full time apprenticeship with us this summer.
Luke is very happy to continue his apprenticeship fulltime: “I am being taught everything I need to know about my trade and how to do it correctly,” says Luke.“I am also learning other important skills such as communicating with others and I am enjoying working in the real world.”
Ocean is equally pleased to give opportunities to local young people who use their training as astepping stone to realise their dreams beyond Ocean.IT apprentice, Joe Baker, hopes that the practical skills he is learning at Ocean will help him gain a place on a degree course specialising in IT security: “Currently there is only one university in the country offering the course I want and competition for places is intense.This work experience will back up my academic learning and hopefully give me a better chance of being accepted on the course.”Joe is passionate about IT and his aim is to make computer networks more secure: “Ultimately I would like to develop counter security measures and improve network infrastructures around the country.Ocean is the first step on my career ladder that could turn my dream into a reality.”
Apprenticeships last 1 – 4 years with apprentices working full time and attending college one day per week.The National Apprentice Services fund the training side of the apprenticeships and as a measure of its appreciation for a job well done, Ocean pays all their apprentices the national minimum wage for their age, which exceeds the £ 95 per week required by the scheme.
Ocean runs its Apprentice Training Programme in partnership with Cornwall College and local schools.“We are working with the college to ensure that the courses they provide give apprentices the skills that businesses value,” adds Nikki.“We also aim to go into schools to encourage women into construction apprenticeships. Currently we have a 100% male trade-force and we realise that some of our more vulnerable residents may prefer to have the choice of female trades coming into their homes.”
All Ocean’s apprenticeships are advertised on the Cornwall College website during the spring with a view to starting in September.Applicants apply through Cornwall College and Ocean receives a shortlist for interview.
Guy Ridpath - Ocean Services apprentice plumber
Karl Stevens - Ocean Services apprentice electrician
Wayne Barett - Gilbert & Goode Construction apprentice trowel occupation
Nathan Balsdon - Gilbert & Goode Construction apprentice trowel occupation
Joseph Baker - Ocean Group ICT apprentice
Emma Sleeman - Ocean Housing apprentice business administration
Matthew Starkie-Old - Ocean Housing apprentice business administration
Andrew Gaved - Ocean Services apprentice carpenter
Luke Rowe - Ocean Services apprentice carpenter
Thomas Hoare - Gilbert & Goode apprentice carpenter
Jack Omlo - Ocean Services young apprentice
Also photographed:Martin Starkie, Ocean Services contract manager
Twelfth apprentice not photographed – Sean Yeo, Ocean Services apprentice electrician