Brookside Academy, Street is the only school to be honored in the Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list, which is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service.
The list was announced at the National Apprenticeship Awards that took place on 20 January at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
Brookside Academy employs 13 apprentices across the school specialising in skills such as sports tuition, business administration, finance, nursery education and specialist education. Apprentices spend one day a week at Strode to gain a qualification in their specialist area. After two years they can seek employment or higher education.
Since 2010 Brookside Academy has employed 29 apprentices and have supported their progression to full employment contracts both within the Academy and externally. Plans for the future include increasing the areas in school where apprentices can work, a formal mentoring programme for those who find full employment in the school and a regional ‘best practice’ club for schools new to the apprenticeship scheme.
The list, now in its fifth year, is run by the National Apprenticeship Service to showcase the breath of employers who now offer apprenticeships.
Headteacher Brian Walton said:
“I’m delighted that our school has been recognised as one of the top 100 employers for apprenticeships. We’re the only school in the list and we’re only able to do this through our partnership with Strode College.
“As a large primary school we can provide a diverse range of experiences for young people who want to get a meaningful and supported start to their career. We benefit greatly from the positive attitude, skills and willingness to learn they bring to the school and we’ve been able to offer more services for families. For example we can now offer school holiday activities for children with disabilities.
“All our apprentices have become significant and fully integrated members of the workforce with the same expectations of professionalism and taking responsibility from the outset – they represent the school from day one. I firmly believe that schools are a great place to start a career through an apprenticeship.”
Currently apprentices make up 27 per cent of all the support staff at the school.
Strode College Kelly Cave apprenticeship specialist said:
“We are elated that Brookside Academy have been truly recognised within the top 100 employer category. This accolade is a true testament to the commitment and dedication they show to the apprenticeship programme and their employees. The support and motivation from the school to the apprentices enhances the professional and trusting relationship formed with Strode College enabling us to offer an outstanding partnership.”
Jasmine Dalgarno, aged 20, began her apprenticeship journey with Brookside Academy in 2012. After successfully completing her Intermediate Apprenticeship in Children and Young People she progressed to the Advanced level. The school has found that she has blossomed in her confidence and self-belief during the apprenticeship and learnt vital skills to enable her to work effectively within the academy. In 2014 Jasmine qualified through the apprenticeship scheme as a level 3 childcare practitioner and has continued with full time employment at Brookside Academy where she plays a vital role in the nursery. She said:
“I completed my level 2 and my level 3 childcare apprenticeship at Brookside Academy and I really enjoyed it. I was able to work with the children as well as learning all the things I needed to know. The support from all the staff was a great help and I couldn’t have completed it without all their support.
“The apprenticeship has led to me becoming a keyworker, which is very rewarding and I enjoy it everyday. I’m now looking into completing my level 4 apprenticeship here as well.”
Susan Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service commented on Brookside Academy being named a Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer:
“The Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list 2016 demonstrates clearly the impact apprentices can have on an organization. Apprentice employers are creating opportunities for individuals to gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed, up to degree level, while working and earning.
“These Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers are making a difference to the lives of their apprentices by investing in the future. In return, apprentices are helping employers to develop a skilled, qualified workforce to build a stronger economy.
“I hope the success of these Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers will mean more businesses across England aspire to follow their example and to find out for themselves how apprenticeships help to grow a skilled and highly qualified workforce.”
To view the full Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer List, please visit GOV.UK
PHOTO: Left to right: Shaun Adams, Georgia Latty, Daisy Withers, Megan Swaine, Macie Pople-Anderton, Brian Walton (headteacher),Kate Gould, Tom Ball.