As we step into spring, we once again remember why we love working outdoors, and what a difference we make to the lives of our learners past and present.
It's a great time to reflect and to think about nurturing growth and encouraging the development of new talent in our sectors. There is always discussion in the national press of skills gaps and the ageing workforces. Seeing our Apprentices take their first steps into industry, and then to watch them progress in their chosen career paths, is a great privilege.
March 14th to 18th was National Apprenticeship Week 2016. The week-long celebration is a once a year opportunity to promote the benefits of Apprenticeships to employers, whilst celebrating the success and achievements of our Apprentice learners around the country.
At Myerscough, our Horticulture Apprenticeship provision covers the full spectrum of pathways, from Sportsturf Groundsmanship and Greenkeeping through to Grounds Maintenance, Landscaping, Parks/Gardens/Greenspaces and Production. The College works extensively with employers of all sizes, from SMEs through to large national and international brands, to develop and deliver Apprenticeship training solutions to their bespoke requirements.
Our unique workbased delivery model and innovative use of emerging learning technology ensures our training is current and tailored to meet individual learner and workplace needs. We offer a full managed recruitment service to any employers looking to take their first steps into Apprenticeships with support at every step of the way from our dedicated Employer Services Team.
Myerscough College has a clear vision for Apprenticeship provision:
- To highlight their value and quality to public and private sector enterprises and promote the benefits of Apprenticeships to a wider business audience
- To drive the creation of increased Apprenticeship opportunities in the land-based and leisure sectors on a local, regional and national basis
- To assist employers looking to recruit an Apprentice by offering a free recruitment service focused on matching individual learner and employer aspirations and needs
- To deliver high quality Apprenticeships, as part of a blended learning model, focused towards meeting individual learner and employer needs and delivering a valued learning experience
- To develop advanced level skills that will improve business performance, Myerscough College is committed to ensuring quality Apprenticeship provision as the way forward for training new and existing staff within the workplace
This issue we focus on some case studies of our Apprentices and employers across our Greenkeeping and Groundsmanship provision with AVRO Golf Club in Woodford, and Liverpool Football Club.
Greenkeeper for a day: AoC boss Richard experiences a day in the life of an apprentice
We took the Regional Director of the Association of Colleges, Richard Caulfield, on a day out to experience a day in the life of a Myerscough College Apprentice. Our first stop was at Avro Golf Club, near Stockport in Cheshire, to meet apprentice greenkeeper, Wayne Atkinson, and Course Manager, Eddie Ainsworth.
Richard was shown the full range of duties Wayne has to carry out as part of his daily workload and got to experience first-hand what it's like 'on the job'. This included operating and driving a ride-on mower and sidewinder, tee renovation and turf management, equipment maintenance
and the important part ecology and natural habitat plays in the daily operations of the club.
We caught up with Eddie, who said he was delighted with the progress his apprentice had made, saying; "I take the approach that education is everything. I'm over the moon with Wayne. When he turned up at first, he didn't know very much. He's changed so much in the 8 months he's been here and I genuinely couldn't ask for anyone better as an apprentice."
"There's someone out there for everyone and it's a case of trusting the process. I think there's a lot of golf course managers that need a reality check and have unrealistic expectations of what an apprentice is about.
"It's a three-way relationship between the employer, Myerscough College and the learner. Course managers, or any other employer, will only get out of the apprentice what they put into them. I give Wayne as much of a free role as possible and he's benefitting from that."
25-year-old Wayne is on course to complete his Level 2 Apprenticeship in Work-based Horticulture in July, 2017.
Eddie says Wayne benefits from his hands-on approach: "Not everyone wants to do this job, it's tough in terms of hours and physically demanding. It gives the apprentice a great feeling if he's working directly with the course manager rather than someone down the ladder. It makes them feel appreciated."
"In 8 months the difference in Wayne is staggering. At the end of his Level 2 Apprenticeship he'll have so much experience. I think he's well known in the industry already. That's the difference. Many organisations I speak to can't believe the level of responsibility I give him."
"Education is key in this industry but it's all about personal training and giving them your time. Wayne makes the effort to make his apprenticeship work and so I give him everything I can. I think that's my responsibility. He's well ahead of his work. I can check on his practical and portfolio work on a regular basis. He's already signing up for other courses. Once he's completed his Level 2 Apprenticeship, I'll be talking to the committee here to extend that to Level 3."
"I take Wayne to important meetings and always try and involve him as much as I can. You can't get that experience otherwise. Wayne has been happy to get involved and the committee here have been impressed with his drive and enthusiasm.''
Wayne said; "To be honest it was a complete change of career for me. I'd been in retail for seven years and I was still living at home. At 25 I decided that I wanted to do something for me and especially something outdoors."
"I'm enjoying it. Greenkeeping was completely foreign to me when I started but now I love it. I was delighted when this came up. As well as the job and experience, it's an industry recognised qualification too."
"I have great sup port from my family while I complete the course. I've been told there should be a job here once I qualify and hopefully the club will put me through my Level 3 so I'm as equipped as I can be for my career."
Richard Caulfield, AoC Regional Director, said: ''It has been fantastic to get out and about to see apprentices in their workplace. It shows how important the relationship between colleges and employers is and what great opportunities there are out there for apprentices."
"Seeing the passion of Eddie at Avro Golf Club and how that is rubbing off on Wayne was fantastic. It shows how small employers can provide exciting opportunities for apprentices and give true development opportunities. I have no doubt Wayne is set for a long and successful career as a Greenkeeper."
Later in the day, we took Richard to Manchester City Football Club's Training Academy, where he was given a guided tour of the state-of-the-art facility by Myerscough College apprentices, Katie Croft and Tara Massey. Katie and Tara are the only two female apprentices of their kind in the whole of the Premier League.
Richard Caulfield added; "The experience at Manchester City was also enlightening. It is great to see young women take on opportunities in careers often dominated by men. Katie and Tara showed real passion for their work and a desire to progress and the opportunity to work in such an exciting environment as the academy at MCFC is the perfect start for their careers."
"What I witnessed were committed employers, enthusiastic young people and great support from one of our North West colleges. It was a privilege to see these three apprentices in their workplace and I have no doubt there are thousands of other success stories just like theirs."
Employer in Focus: Liverpool Football Club
To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2016, members of the Employer Services Team paid a visit to Liverpool Football Club to catch up with two of the incredible Apprentices the college supports. Myerscough College is one of the largest providers of specialist land-based Apprenticeships in the country, and supports approximately 1500 learners across more than 1000 different workplaces in a wide variety of sectors.
These range from small businesses through to global brands particularly within the Sportsturf and Amenity Horticulture sectors where Myerscough is renowned across the globe for the quality of its provision. Many ex-Apprentices and other Myerscough learners have gone on to secure some of the top jobs within industry, a great testament to the quality of training the College provides.
The Anfield visit was a chance to meet two of the Apprentice Groundsmen at Liverpool Football Club. James and Robert are both undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Apprenticeship in Sportsturf, assisting in maintaining the playing surfaces at the club.
James Sullivan (above), who works mainly at the Melwood training complex said; "I work as part of a team of seven groundstaff and the job is really varied. I am now coming to the end of my Level 2 Apprenticeship in Sportsturf and I have so far enjoyed every minute of it. There is much more science involved than I first thought and the job is a lot more technical than people think. To think I play a part in preparing the surface for the team is a great honour. I would definitely recommend Apprenticeships to other young people looking at a career in Groundsmanship. It's fantastic that Liverpool Football Club have given me this opportunity."
Robert McTigue (left) has just started his Apprenticeship in Sportsturf said; "I initially applied two years ago but was unsuccessful. I knew it was what I wanted to do, so eventually, after contacting the club again and doing a period of voluntary work, the club took me on as an Apprentice. My advice to others is simple; to just keep trying and eventually you will get an opportunity. I am looking forward to my studies and to becoming a qualified member of the Grounds Team, and to progress at the Club."
Apprenticeships - Did you know?
- We deliver Apprenticeships in Groundsmanship, Greenkeeping and Landscaping nationally
- 2.4 million Apprenticeships were started in England during the last Parliament
- Apprenticeships are available in 1500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries
- Employers say that qualified Apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications
- 89% of employers reported that Apprenticeships helped their business improve the quality of their product or service
- Apprenticeships boost productivity to businesses by on average £214 per week
- 97% of our employers say they are satisfied with their Apprenticeship programme
- A quarter of former Apprentices had been promoted (23%) within 12 months of finishing
- Nearly a fifth (19%) of advanced Apprentices nationally, progress to higher education following their Apprenticeship
Myerscough College's Employer Services Manager Lee Price explains the ethos behind Apprenticeships and the relationship with Liverpool F.C. saying; "The College has a long standing relationship with Liverpool Football Club and has trained a large number of the Grounds Team in NVQs, Apprenticeships and Industry Training programmes. It's great that the club has invested in the future of two local young people and allowed them to take the first steps onto the career ladder with the club. I have no doubt that both James and Robert have a great opportunity within the sector."
The College continues to push the boundaries of technology within the sector and the advancement of learning technology is a key driver to our future success. We invest heavily to ensure our provision is a leader in the field. Learners on our workbased schemes and Apprenticeships are now 100% using E-Portfolio and our Bloom VLE platform, which allows us to consistently update and adjust our qualifications to take into account the latest advancements in techniques, and technology across the sector.
For more information on the Apprenticeship and other education programmes at Myerscough College please contact Employer Services on 01995 642255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org