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As the year at the South West Apprenticeship Company comes to a close, we thought we’d share some of this year’s highlights and also some of our plans for 2019.

It’s been a busy year, with new apprentices recruited, placed and progressed across Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, North Somerset and North Devon in a diverse mix of roles; everything from engineering to IT, administration to Lab Tech, hairdressing to tourism, cooking to retail and everything in between!

Our apprentices and the Employer Hosts have continued to make us all proud; never failing to surprise us with their achievements and skills development. There are too many to mention them all, but I have picked some out in my 2018 recap below.

The first half of the year flew by in a flash. Our apprentices continued to excel in their apprenticeships and have daily impact on the level of growth and success within their Host companies. In March, during the annual Apprenticeship Week SWAC took part in events across the region to celebrate and support apprenticeships. We celebrated the week by showcasing our apprentices, host employers and our staff! We love to know where our apprentices are now so we contacted ones that finished 3 and 5 years ago and discovered with SWAC’s support some have gone on to be senior managers within local businesses, set-up their own business or gone onto further study with a degree at local Universities.

Once again in 2018, SWAC we were pleased to be represented at the Apprenticeship Awards – we were even more pleased to win – many times!

In May, SWAC was very proud to win the Apprentice Employer of the Year at the Bristol and Bath Apprenticeship Awards. We all put on our posh togs and set-off to the Awards at Ashton Gate Football Club in Bristol and guess what? WE WON!!

Then a few weeks later in June, we were back at the awards, this time the Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Awards, where again we were finalists in the Apprentice Employer of the Year category and 4 of our apprentices Alice Loveday, Amy Ruck, Jack Malley and Rhiannon Smith were shortlisted in the Outstanding Apprentice of the Year categories and Amy our shared apprentice working in the Forest of Dean Tourism sector won in the Business and Finance sector.

To continue our awards success this year we have just heard Kirsty Beavis our Advanced Engineering Apprentice at Himag Planar Magnetics has been shortlisted for The Apprentice of the Year in next month’s South West Business and Community Awards,

Over the last few months we have been supporting Business West in the West of England to deliver Apprenticeship workshops for small and medium sized businesses to explore apprenticeships – the benefits that hiring an apprentice can bring, how developing existing valued staff through apprenticeships improves retention, skills and morale and how they can be effective for SMEs as well as larger employers. The workshops have been very interactive and we have enjoyed hearing everyone’s experiences, answering their questions and giving them advice.

As 2018 comes to a close we are pleased to announce our Apprentice of the Year…. It was such a difficult decision with lots of amazing apprentices demonstrating commitment and hard work so…. we chose two! SWAC Apprentice of the Year for 2018 goes to Emily Edwards and LukeDamagnez.

So what are our plans for 2019?
Our partnership with local schools is continuing to be expanded within our region. We have supported schools with their career and advice sessions, attending events and providing expert support for learners and teaching staff alike. With more and more schools looking to give sound ‘next steps’ advice for their pupils, we will continue to give impartial and practical support throughout 2019; please contact me if you are interested in showcasing your business to local schools.

Building on the success of our SWAC Apprentice of the Month and Year accolades we are planning to launch in 2019 the SWAC GOLD standard Apprenticeship Award for our Host Employers that have gone above and beyond with their apprentices.

As 2018 closes, this year we are proud to say that 98% of our apprentices have progressed into a full time role or onto higher education on completion of their SWAC apprenticeship and 98% successfully completed their apprenticeship with our support!

If you would like to find out more about how apprenticeships could become part of your 2019 plans and how the SWAC team can help you to implement an outstanding apprenticeship programme, please get in touch.

From the whole team at SWAC, may we wish you a safe and Merry Christmas, and a fantastically prosperous 2019!

Kindest regards
Clare, Shelley Mills, Sally, Shelley King and Alice

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