Apprentices ‘important’ for future growth of firms

W27592H13''GKS Apprentice Shane Willard ENGSUS00120130628145845
W27592H13''GKS Apprentice Shane Willard ENGSUS00120130628145845
  • Firm extending apprenticeship programme
  • Businesses mark National Apprenticeship Week

APPRENTICES of today are ‘an important part in our growth for the future’, a major employer has stated amid National Apprenticeship Week.

GlaxoSmithKline, in East Worthing, intends to increase its apprenticeship workforce from 13 to 21 this year.

Organisations around the Herald and Gazette area are being encouraged to find out more about hiring apprentices in a week-long awareness campaign.

GSK Worthing site director Kirk Brown said: “It is becoming a really strong group of talent coming into the business and it is viewed as such by senior leaders in GSK.

“The company is really investing in it and looking to maximise some of the opportunities that are coming through.

“With the investment in additional manufacturing capacity we are making at Worthing, our apprentices of today will play an important part in our future growth.”

It has been one of the best experiences of my life

Shane Willard, GSK apprentice

One of GSK’s apprenticeship success stories is Shane Willard, who was Northbrook College Engineering Apprentice of the Year in 2012 and has undertaken the company’s engineering apprenticeship over the last three years.

He has been promoted to the role of qualified mechanical engineer, but the company is supporting him to complete his Higher National Diploma in mechanical engineering.

Mr Willard said: “I’ve now come to the end of my apprenticeship and it has been one of the best experiences of my life.

“It has enabled me to gain the experience and qualifications I needed to start my career in mechanical engineering.

“I’ve always been passionate about this field and without this opportunity from GSK I wouldn’t have been able to break into the industry.”

Steve Stewart, who heads up GSK’s UK apprenticeship programme, is excited about the increasing scope of the firm’s scheme.

He said: “We’ve now got 180 apprentices across the business in the UK. We are looking to expand this year, with another 68.

“At interview, we have found that managers are so pleased with the candidates, we get more and more requests to expand.”

Applications are welcomed for local apprenticeships in manufacturing, laboratory and engineering roles, as well as UK-wide apprenticeship opportunities in a range of other disciplines.

For more information, and to apply, visit www.gsk.com/apprenticeships

Northbrook College is the principal provider of apprenticeships in the area.

It is marking National Apprenticeship Week by holding an awards ceremony for its apprentices at the West Durrington campus, in Littlehampton Road, Worthing, tomorrow (Fri-
day).

Elsewhere, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust held an apprentices afternoon tea party at Worthing Dome last week.

Chief executive Marianne Griffiths and trust chairman Mike Viggers addressed around 50 past and present apprentices and trust staff at the gathering,

Visit www.northbrook.ac.uk for more information. about apprenticeships.