14 February 2023  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

A week-long campaign highlighting the valuable role that apprenticeships play for students has been hailed a huge success.  Richmond School and Sixth Form College celebrated National Apprenticeship Week with a series of guest speakers and alumni case studies to give students an insight into the diverse range of apprenticeships available.

Guest speakers for Sixth Form students included Helen Smith, from GSK, who talked about degree apprenticeships and Sharon Maddison from the Successful Futures team of NYBEP, delivering the ASK Apprenticeship programme.  In addition, Mark Woolley, alumnus and founder and international director of leading British hair brand Electric, spent a full day running business and media workshops as well as mentoring a group of students who are interested in hairdressing and working in the creative industry.

A series of six case studies were posted on the school’s social media during the week and highlighted former students who are currently in different stages of their apprenticeships in a range of industries including manufacturing, renewable energy, construction and software development.

A dedicated film was made about 16-year-old Fraser Proudlock who started his apprenticeship in welding and fabrication at CJ Tennants Engineering Ltd in summer 2022. Carl Tennant, MD, said: “Fraser has quickly settled into his role and works diligently with a close eye for detail. We have a longstanding partnership with Richmond School and Fraser is our fourth apprentice who is one of their former students, as am I and 75% of our staff.” You can enjoy the film at

Two of the case studies focused on the benefits of degree apprenticeships and featured Megan Lightfoot and Alex Percival, who are both doing quantity surveying degree apprenticeships with Tom Willoughby Ltd and Walter Thompson (Contractors) Ltd of the FT Group of companies. Megan and Alex will achieve the same recognised degree as those who follow the traditional university route but this is coupled with years of hands-on industry experience and skills. Megan said: “I highly recommend this method of studying as it not only enables you to put what you are learning into perspective on sites but also adds relevance and realism to the essays and dissertations you are working on at university.”

Other case studies included Liam Miller and Luca Sartini, apprentice bricklayer and apprentice joiner at Randall Orchard Construction Ltd, Charlie Giddens, apprentice software developer at Worldline and Josh Pybus, apprentice plumber at Teesdale Renewables.

Ruth Hamer, Careers Adviser, concluded: “National Apprenticeship Week delivers a fantastic opportunity to put apprenticeships under the spotlight, however at Richmond School and Sixth Form College we are promoting their benefits every week of the year.  In addition to the sixth form guest speakers and case studies, during the week all school year groups from 7 to 11 took part in apprenticeship information sessions and in March they will attend apprenticeship focussed assemblies with a range of guest speakers and apprenticeship providers. Our Careers ideas fair will take place again in July and a host of apprenticeship employers and training providers will be attending to speak to students from Year 10 and Year 12, and their parents and carers.

“We are incredibly proud to have been awarded the Quality in Careers Standard, and one of the reasons we have this is due to the support of the leadership team, and all the staff in school, in raising awareness amongst our students of all the pathways available to them when leaving school and college. Apprenticeships are understandably becoming increasingly popular amongst students, and it’s important that as a school we continue to promote them any way we can. We fully support the value of apprenticeships and how they offer students the best of both worlds – being able to learn while they earn, whilst also helping companies to future proof their workforce.”

A host of resources for students and parents are available including a parents’ guide to apprenticeships where parents and carers can find out more about apprenticeships and why they may be a good fit for their child. This can be downloaded here.

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