INSPIRATION was in plentiful supply for apprentices completing studies at HIT training as they received a motivational talk from former six-time world champion canoeist Anna Hemmings.
The former Olympic competitor was joined for the event by East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton in presenting award certificates to a wide range of candidates succeeding with courses through the Shoreham airport-based company which is enjoying an encouraging growth in its numbers of candidates.
Since retiring from competitive sport in 2009, canoeist Anna has created her own company, Beyond the Barriers, applying lessons of sport and preventative medicine to improving the performance of staff in business. Speaking about the certificate presentation event marking national apprenticeship week, she praised HIT apprentices and believed its courses were an excellent means of developing careers.
She said: “It was great to be with the apprentices and witness their achievements and I hope they go on to achieve even more with their careers. I think apprenticeships are great as not everyone wants to do higher education, so they are a good option for people. I think they’re essential.
“I talked to them about my journey to becoming a champion, being at the Olympics twice and some of the challenges that I faced and about some of the things that you just have to deal with along the way that everyone faces.”
Anna added: “I do miss competitive canoeing as that’s just the way I am, I will always be competitive. But I’m not sure I miss all the hard work of the training for it!”
Anna, who is keenly anticipating the 2012 Olympic games and is presenting for the BBC, said: “When you’re young you have dreams and ambition of achieving and it was really special to have won championships and go to the Olympics.”
Anna Turton, who works at Regency Court nursing centre in South Terrace, Littlehampton, was just one of many celebrating success with gaining her level-3 qualifications through HIT’s training. The organisation has more than 200 people on its books across the region and is continuing to expand.
The 49-year-old chef manager said: “It has been a really good experience with HIT, being able to do the qualifications through one-to-one tuition. I have had to pay something towards it but it has worked out less than it would be for a college course and I’m now looking at doing the next level of qualifications.”
Michelle Kyte, of HIT, said the firm had worked hard to forge links with a range of firms across the area including Worthing Leisure Centre. She believed apprenticeships were a benefit to many for their additional key skills training in maths and English.