From apprentices to business champions
10 Jul 2012
THREE former apprentices have joined Semta, one of the UK's leading skills organisations, to help businesses improve their competitiveness through effective training and development.
Their experience means they are well placed to advise companies on recruitment, training and funding of apprentices, so that companies get good returns from their investment.
Ashley Sandford is one of the new business partners at Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing, with responsibility for the North West and Cumbria, along with Paul Kerwin, while Lee Griffiths has responsibility for the south east.
Sandford, a former pupil of Cowley High School in St Helens, spent 12 years in the RAF after training as a technical engineer, serving at bases throughout the UK. He went on to work for Monarch Aircraft Engineering at Manchester Airport, Ryanair at Liverpool, and as an instructor and assessor for BAE Systems at their apprentice training centre in Preston before joining Semta.
Now living back in his home town of St Helens, Sandford, 31, is determined to help individuals into industry and work with businesses to support them in these difficult economic times."I have enjoyed a fantastic career in engineering and I have joined Semta because I am passionate about others making the most of the opportunities which are out there," he said. "Engineering and advanced manufacturing are great careers, with long-term prospects. Firms operating in these sectors are the ones which will drive future economic growth. I look forward to working with businesses across the North West to help make this happen."
Born in Liverpool Paul Kerwin, a former pupil at St Andrews High School in Halewood, studied mechanical and production engineering at Halton College as part of his apprenticeship with ICI. Having achieved a postgraduate diploma in engineering manufacturing and management, he worked as a maintenance fitter. He went on to work at Cross Huller, Lever Brothers and a North West training provider before joining Semta.
Kerwin, 49, said: "I have a lot of experience of the industry having done an apprenticeship myself.
"It has led to a fulfilling career and I am excited at the prospect of working with Semta to support businesses in the North West through all stages of the process.
"Earning while learning certainly worked for me and I am passionate about the benefits apprenticeships can bring to both the business and the individual. I want to give something back – Semta is like a toolkit for businesses, helping them to help themselves, and I can't wait to get going."
Having left school at 16, Lee Griffiths joined the RAF and studied Avionics. He then joined Bosch as an electrical apprentice, qualifying with an HNC in Mechatronics. Griffiths, 28, born in Kettering, brought up in South Wales and now living in Horsham, took a short time out for a trip around the world and has returned ready to help others.
"I have joined Semta because I believe my previous experiences of having gone through the apprenticeship framework will help me add value to companies and individuals," he said. "I am passionate about engineering and manufacturing, and know the benefits of apprenticeships. Companies in this sector have a major role to play in driving the economy forward. This is an exciting time for industry, with lots of opportunities, and I look forward to working with companies across the south east to help them achieve their full potential."
Semta supports the recruitment, mentoring and training of apprentices and graduates, assesses supply chain capability and helps with producing a company training plan. It also provides high quality training programmes in line with sector priorities which are leadership and management, technical skills, and productivity and competitiveness.
For further information, contact Semta Customer Services on 0845 643 9001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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