HSDC’s National Apprenticeship Week celebrations got off to a flying start at 9am Monday with a Cycle-thon static-bike competition between the three campuses. Principal and CEO Mike Gaston, who launched it for the South Downs campus, took an early lead with 45 minutes of cycling, however Havant and Alton were quick to catch up. By midday on Wednesday the riders had made it to our virtual goal of Paris and were on their way home. Staff and students took part to raise money for Rowans Hospice and by the end of the week had raised a fabulous total of £600.
The theme of this celebration and awareness week has been ‘Look Beyond’ and all activities have been planned around this, giving back and appreciating our apprentices and employer partners. Drop-in centres ran each day so learners could find out more about an industry sector, HSDC staff travelled out to local partner schools to increase an awareness of apprenticeship opportunities, all existing apprentices received an appreciation card and some love hearts and on Thursday, the highlight of the week, our inaugural Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony. Held on our Havant campus, the ceremony was attended by local Havant MP Alan Mak and several of HSDC’s senior management team. It highlighted the value the apprenticeship programme has for both employers and apprentices and honoured the difference apprenticeships makes.
Mike Gaston, HSDC Principal & CEO, was pleased to see employers with their apprentices at the celebration event: “HSDC exists to realise the ambition of our community, raise aspirations and enable achievement. Apprenticeships make sense for many people and our apprenticeship programme is very much aligned to encourage learners ‘look beyond’ which links into this year’s theme. We value the partnership with have with our employers and this celebration is part of that partnership”. Craig Parsons, Apprenticeship Manager at Fullers, values that partnership: “Apprenticeships are great but the focus needs to be on quality. HSDC offer us that quality which is why they are one of our key partners”.
Apprenticeships are an important part of the educational offer at HSDC. Fullers apprentice Nathan Swindley, who won the ‘Hospitality and Catering Award, explained the difference it has made in his life: “At the beginning of the apprenticeship I wasn’t sure what to expect but after a short time I felt really welcomed and part of the team. It has changed my life and really set me on a career path”.