Local MP Andrew Stephenson accompanied Principal Amanda Melton on a tour of local businesses on Friday 15th March, to see for himself the good work brought about through Apprenticeships and training.

11th-15th March was National Apprenticeship Week, and to acknowledge this, local MP Andrew Stephenson was invited by College Principal Amanda Melton to join her on a tour of three local companies who are using Apprenticeships to help drive their business forward.

The pair visited well established engineering firm Standel Dawman, flourishing recruitment company Ashberry, and popular farm shop, bistro and coffee shop, Roaming Roosters. All of these companies work with Nelson and Colne College to offer training to their staff and are excellent examples of how Apprenticeships can bring real added value to companies, no matter their size!

In Barrowford firm Standel Dawman, Mr Stephenson learned about the history of the business from General Manager Jonathan Kirkbride, who spoke about how apprenticeships have helped Standel Dawman move forward – he himself has been an apprentice with the College. Mr Kirkbride was also keen to highlight how smaller local firms play an integral part in large industries such as Engineering. Whilst there, Mr Stephenson was also able to present employee Max Bridges with a Nelson and Colne College Business Award, as an Outstanding Adult Apprentice of the Year – Engineering and Manufacturing. Sadly Max was unable to attend the main awards ceremony on Thursday 14thMarch, but he was pleased to receive his award from the MP.

Next up was a tour of flourishing recruitment company Ashberry, also situated in Barrowford. Ashberry is a relatively young business, led by two highly experienced recruitment managers Kate Mallinson and Jennifer Berry, who have experience of working for large national companies. Ashberry has gone from strength to strength and attributes part of its success to the high calibre apprentices it has employed. Ashberry is particularly committed to nurturing its own talent from within and cite attitude and personality as vital to their apprentices’ success.

Evidence of this is one of their apprentices, Levi Sarchet, who in addition to winning Young Apprentice of the Year – Business and Administration at the College’s Business Awards, was also a joint winner of the Overall Young Apprentice of the Year 2013 award!

To complete the tour, Amanda Melton took Mr Stephenson to visit Roaming Roosters where the College has delivered Professional Cookery apprenticeships. Roaming Roosters really is a local success story and it is encouraging that local businesses are seeing the benefits of hiring apprentices as key members of their staff. Mr Stephenson met with owner Simon Mellin who introduced the MP to two young apprentices who work in the busy bistro and coffee shop.

After his visit, MP Andrew Stephenson said, “It was great to visit local businesses and their apprentices with Nelson and Colne College as part of National Apprentice Week. The College does excellent work in conjunction with businesses to train apprentices. Practical training is something which is incredibly important and something I’m a big supporter of”.

“There are a large number of companies in Pendle who have taken Apprentices for years and are committed to doing so year after year, but what is also great to see is the number of businesses who haven’t taken them before starting to do so. It just shows what an asset they can be to a company”.