To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2016 and highlight the value its apprentices bring to employers across the county, Gloucestershire College invited Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk to visit one of its star carpentry apprentices in the workplace.
On Monday 14 March, Alex joined Vice Principal Peter White on site to visit 20-year-old George Davies, a former Balcarras School pupil from Cheltenham who is now 18 months into his Level 2 Carpentry and Joinery Intermediate Apprenticeship and working for Matt Grimshaw Carpentry.
During the visit George demonstrated some of the skills he has learnt during his apprenticeship, as he assisted his employer with fitting a roof at a property in Cheltenham. Matt says that George is “on his way to becoming a great carpenter” and as part of his apprenticeship he has learnt many skills, including how to cut and shape timber for floorboards, skirting boards and window frames; make and assemble doors, window frames, staircases and fitted furniture; fit wooden structures including floor and roof joists, roof timbers and staircases; and install second fixings such as cupboards, shelving and door surrounds.
A former GC apprentice himself, Matt said: “George is doing a fantastic job so far, in particular with roofing jobs. He’s at a stage where I would feel confident in sending him out to complete jobs by himself, whether that be first fix or a kitchen fitting.
“George is currently doing his Level 2 qualification at the College and will soon start his Level 3, which will make a big difference to his future career. It’s great to see George follow in my footsteps; I completed my three-year apprenticeship at GC, whilst working for a local carpenter, and have been working for myself now for nine years now.
“I originally took on George to help grow my company and as he’s done so well, I will be looking to take on another apprentice later this year.”
George, who stars in the College’s GC the Movie apprenticeships video (www.gloscol.ac.uk/gcthemovie), said: “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I get to learn and earn money at the same time. I’ve learnt a lot of skills on the job from Matt, as well as theory and health and safety at college.
“I’m looking forward to starting my Level 3 qualification and hope to one day head up my own successful company like my boss Matt.”
Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk said: “The government has pledged to deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020 and with it being National Apprenticeship Week, I am delighted to be supporting local apprentices by meeting George in Cheltenham today. He is undoubtedly a fine apprentice and one to watch for the future.”
Vice Principal Peter White said: “Gloucestershire College is a real champion of apprenticeships and the value our apprentices bring to employers both big and small; allowing them to grow and fill skills gaps with quality, motivated employees who can bring new skills and fresh ideas to working practices.
“Our construction and building services apprentices have the opportunity to train in purpose-built workshops at our Gloucester, Cheltenham and Forest of Dean campuses, whilst learning for valuable qualifications and earning a wage in the workplace. We look forward to welcoming Alex and showing him just what our talented apprentice George can do.”
If you’re a Gloucestershire business looking to build a better workforce by hiring an apprentice, visit www.gc-apprenticeships.co.uk