College of West Anglia managers learn new skills for Apprenticeship Week
16:59 11 March 2014
Senior managers at the College of West Anglia left their desks to visit students and companies during Apprenticeship Week.
It is the second year that the college has organised its Back To The Floor event which proved beneficial to the employers involved, the apprentices and senior managers.
Taking part were Arlene Clark, executive director for curriculum and learning, Stephen Jones, executive director finance and resources, Hilary Auld, head of faculty for foundation, engagement and the arts and Andrew Gedge, head of faculty of sport, public and caring services and public services. Arlene Clark visited R.J Herbert, which employs 150 people at its rural location in Middle Drove, near Wisbech, where she was given an insight by fabrications manager Nigel Clayton into its multi-million manufacturing and design operations.
Arlene, kitted in protective headwear, said: “It is more difficult than it looks. The people who do this are obviously very skilled.
“I was impressed by the value added to the company by the apprentices.”
The company specialises in design and manufacturer of vegetable processing, grading, handling and packing systems. It also makes baggage handling systems for airports.
In Wisbech Hilary Auld was welcomed by proprietor Paul Davies, who runs the Top To Toe hair salon with wife Sarah and a large team.
Hilary said: “The owner is a believer in the show one, do one, teach one approach and he often has his staff and apprentices demonstrating techniques to others to help them progress their own skills.”
Stephen Jones got a rare chance to see what happens behind the scenes of a top restaurant when he visited the Market Bistro in King’s Lynn, which is run by Richard and Lucy Golding.
Stephen said: “I spent most of my time helping prepare food in the kitchen and I learned a new way to peel boiled eggs and a technique to help improve burgers made from scratch.
“I also recognised despite broadly improving economic conditions that running a business in the hospitality industry is really hard work requiring innovation and top notch customer service if you are to remain successful.”
Andrew Gedge had a visit to King’s Lynn Golf Club.
“The skill and dedication of the ground staff were far more impressive than anything I could have managed!
“The knowledge I gained around protocols around golfers, daily routines for the staff and the sheer dedication of staff on a day-by-day basis I am sure is not known among the playing fraternity.”
The aim of the visits is for senior managers at the college to get a good view of the apprenticeship programme.