As we move towards spring, 2016 is already in full swing here at Myerscough College. As the education and skills agenda from government continues to evolve, the College is constantly adapting and tailoring its provision to ensure that learners and employers receive the best possible learning experience on the programmes we provide.
More employer involvement and ownership of team development is key to us providing effective training to businesses.
The upcoming changes to standards through Trailblazers will ensure that all apprenticeship schemes are relevant to each sector and role, and what employers want in terms of workplace training.
The Government target is to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and a newly formed Apprenticeships Delivery Board (ADB) has been set up to focus and implement this as a key priority. The new board is chaired by the Prime Minister's Apprenticeship Advisor, Nadhim Zahawi, and consists of an exciting line up of top business leaders.
Mr Zahawi said; "I'm proud that we've been able to put together such an exciting line up of top business leaders for the ADB. I look forward to working closely with them all, raising further awareness of the business benefits of apprenticeships and providing feedback on how to continually improve quality, as well as quantity."
"As ever, more great British businesses get involved, and with the inclusion of higher and degree level apprenticeships, we can raise the status of apprenticeships while delivering 3m starts by 2020; a target which provides us with an unmissable opportunity to change lives, boost skills and increase productivity in the UK economy."
Learner in Focus - Andy Darker - Elsham Golf Club
Andy said: "You hear from people from outside the industry that it's only cutting grass and playing cards in the winter, this couldn't be any further from the truth. I started greenkeeping in 2005 at the age of 17 with my whole life ahead of me. At first it was a job to pay the bills and I loved being outside. The longer I worked, the more I wanted to learn and understand. Within 5 years I had my NVQ Level 2 along with pesticides (Pa1 and Pa2), and didn't want to stop there."
"In 2010, I moved clubs and started studying for my NVQ3 Diploma with Myerscough College, gained my Pa6, chainsaw certificates, first aid at work and went on day courses to further my knowledge of machinery and products on the market. When you start looking at golf courses there is more to offer than golf itself. If you take a look at any of our play areas you will see it is teeming with wildlife; birds singing in the tree tops, grass snakes slithering through the long grass and small insects flying by feeding on wildflowers. This got me thinking that we should do more to accommodate for all this wildlife as it was here long before the golf club, and it should be there."
"As a team we started by sowing a wildflower meadow. Nothing happened at first but after two seasons it became a colourful paradise for pollinating insects. In 2015 we were awarded the title Operation Pollinator Winners 2015 for our efforts. This started me on a connection with greenkeepers with the same passion as me and my enthusiasm grew. I started writing articles for greenkeeping magazines about my new found passion and pushing the name of my club in any way possible. I found myself spending my break time making mammal homes, hanging bird boxes, making log/brash piles and coming up with creative ways of making shelters out of recycled goods around the yard.
"What started as a sideline project had grown, and changed the whole look of the course, bringing little changes to each hole. My efforts paid off as I was crowned Golf Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year at the Golf Environment Awards facilitated by the STRI. It was a great night and one I won't forget for some time to come. I am proud of my achievements and hope others can be inspired to take up training and apprenticeships in Greenkeeping."
Employer in Focus - Manchester City Football Club
The College has a longstanding training partnership with Manchester City Football Club, having delivered Sportsturf and Industry training to many of the Groundstaff over the past two decades.
Two recruits in particular are causing shockwaves in the industry, being the only two female apprentices of their kind
amongst topflight English football clubs. Katie is aged 20, and Tara is aged 18 and both are from Manchester.
It is widely reported that females are under-represented across a range of apprenticeship sectors. Within the construction and engineering sector for example, only 1 in 19 Apprentices are female. In other schemes that Myerscough College specialises in, the numbers are equally as disproportionate. Myerscough College is committed to the principle of "Opportunity for all to succeed" and Katie and Tara are a clear example of this commitment.
Chosen from hundreds of applicants following a rigorous recruitment process, Katie and Tara proudly help to maintain the playing surfaces at the City Football Academy complex in East Manchester under the direction of Head Groundsman, Lee Metcalfe. They are both working towards their Intermediate Apprenticeship in Sportsturf with Myerscough College.
Lee said; "It's fantastic to have Katie and Tara as part of the team. They bring a fresh energy to the team and are both serious about developing their skills and progressing within the industry. We worked closely with Myerscough College when recruiting for both apprenticeships and on merit Katie and Tara were simply the best candidates for the job."
"Following a short work trial it was clear from the outset that they were a perfect match for our team and both are progressing well within their new roles. I would recommend apprenticeships to other employers looking at an opportunity to bring fresh talent into the industry, and as a club we are committed to ensuring these opportunities are truly available to all."
Learner in Focus - Katie Croft
Katie said; "I didn't know what to do in high school and eventually settled on a job working in customer services at Manchester Airport."
"When I saw the apprenticeship advertised I knew I had to go for it. During my trial I had the chance to be trained and to operate some of the large machines, which was very daunting but now it just comes naturally. The work is extremely varied and involves a lot of team working, which I really enjoy."
"I was bit star struck at first when I saw the players but quickly realised there is a job to do and now it's just the norm. It's great to see that what we do has an impact on the players and the performance of the team."
"As I gain more knowledge and experience, I am now carrying out more advanced tasks, am able to operate more machines and feel much more part of the team. I really enjoy learning new things and then applying my college work to my job. The facilities here are world class and it's amazing to be able to work in such an inspiring environment. My goal for the future is to move onto my Level 3 and to hopefully secure a permanent role here at Manchester City Football Club."
Learner in Focus: Tara Massey
Tara said; "I had been in education at sixth form before I applied for the apprenticeship. I had lost interest and knew deep down that I wanted to be outdoors and to work in a practical setting. I don't like being stuck indoors and being behind a desk was definitely not for me."
"I would say to other young women interested in the industry to not be scared, do not be put off and to just go for it. It's a great job where no two days are the same, you have to solve lots of problems but you can often quickly see the rewards for you efforts."
"I am really enjoying the college side of the apprenticeship and never realised there was so much to the job. In the future I would like to progress both in my role and in my education and take things as far as I can."
Both receive regular visits in the workplace from Myerscough College tutor David Hilton who comments, "Whilst it is unusual to have two young women working as part of the grounds team it is clear that both Katie and Tara have a real passion for the job. Both are progressing really well and as their levels of competence increase they are proving to be a fantastic addition to the team."
"As a college we actively promote apprenticeships and education to all, and I hope that Katie and Tara can act as role models and motivate others looking to apply for roles within the industry. It does not matter about background, gender or location. If you are motivated and have the necessary skills and competencies then you can be successful and overcome any perceived barriers. An apprenticeship is a three-way relationship between employer, learner and college. At Manchester City we have a first class relationship with all parties committed to providing the highest quality experience for the apprentices. I know Katie and Tara have a bright future ahead."
National Apprenticeship Week 2016
Coming next for the team at college is National Apprenticeship Week, which this year runs from 14 to 18 March.
Co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, the week is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have
on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
Some key facts on Apprenticeships:
- businesses report an average increase in productivity by £214 a week when they hire apprentices
- 1,000 businesses are now involved in designing the new apprenticeship standards
- 1,500 different apprenticeships on offer in more than 170 industries
- the Government invested £1.5bn in apprenticeships in 2013 to 2014
Be sure to follow the college Twitter account @My_Apprentice to see what we are up to during the week, to book a place at our employer event, and also to share your own apprenticeship experiences using #NAW2016 being sure to tag us into the tweet. Don't forget all our workbased programmes and apprenticeships at Myerscough College are roll-on / roll-off and can start at any time of the year. We continue to support a large number of Sportsturf employers with their training, development, and recruitment needs.
Another fantastic year at BTME with more enquiries than ever from both business and learners looking to further develop their skills and experiences.
It's always great to catch up with our wider partners from across the globe and to see the careers of Myerscough College learners and graduates develop.
BTME also saw the 2016 Golf Environmental Awards facilitated by the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI). The awards saw further success for Myerscough College learners with former Level 3 student, Anthony Darker, from Elsham Golf Club being crowned Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year. We caught up with Anthony who shares his experiences with us here.
To find out more about our range of provisions or to get advice and guidance with any training needs, please contact Employer Services on 01995 642255 or email email@example.com