Runner-up First Great Western
IT was a business trip to Japan that convinced an executive from First Great Western about the value of apprenticeships.
When he returned to his desk, Operations Director Kevin Gale set about organising a customer service apprenticeship.
He worked with Remit Training, a company which provides structured apprenticeships, to devise a bespoke corporate training scheme. The result was an apprenticeship scheme for 16 to 18-year-olds which was launched last autumn and was the first of its kind in the rail industry. Fifteen apprentices from Bristol were enrolled into the scheme.
Remit Training provides all aspects of educational learning and each apprentice signed up to complete a National Vocation Qualification at Level 2 in customer service.
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Mr Gale said: "Not only does the programme deliver a nationally recognised qualification but it is also tailored to the needs of the passenger transport industry. The apprentices are thriving and we are delighted with this well-motivated and enthusiastic group of young people we now have working for us, and who we hope will make their careers in the rail industry."
It's been so successful that First Great Western, part of the First Group, is now starting on recruiting a further 15 apprentices this year.
One of those who joined up last September, Liam Hutchinson, said: "It is a brilliant way to learn from so many different people and get to try out so many different areas of the business. I'm learning on the job every day".
First Great Western has also won the Innovator of the Year category in the Post's Business Awards.