Staffordshire apprentices prove they've got the 'it' factor
DURING his first three months at Adams Foods, apprentice Ashley Wilkes was already making a big impression.
He has managed to reduce costs at the packing plant in Leek by changing suppliers and has improved safety in the food production area after identifying a need for, and sourcing, new anti-slip mats.
Ashley, aged 18, of Leek, was praised for his initiative and maturity at the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Apprenticeship Recognition Awards yesterday.
Ashley said: "The best thing about my apprenticeship has been the chance to meet new people.
"I'm also improving my language skills by learning some Polish and Hungarian so that I can communicate better with staff and colleagues."
Ashley has now been given supervisory status at Adams Foods and deputises for his manager when required.
A spokesman for the company said: "Ashley is everything an apprentice should represent and an ambassador for our programme, which we feel makes him a winner."
Steelite apprentice Daniel Stone has secured a permanent job with the Middleport tableware company.
The 19-year-old, of Newcastle, was praised for being an excellent role model and an ambassador for the apprenticeship scheme.
He has appeared on television to promote apprenticeships and played a key role in shaping Steelite's Industrial Cadets programme, which gives pupils an insight into the running of a business.
Daniel said: "I didn't want to go to university, I didn't feel like I was at an age where I could take it all on board at a serious level, and I didn't know what I wanted to do for a full-time career.
"I heard about the apprenticeship scheme and managed to get one of the positions in HR. It has been fabulous."
A spokesman for Steelite said: "Dan is never late, always polite, helpful and extremely unselfish. He is a delight to work with."
A total of 12 apprentices from a wide range of businesses were honoured at the ceremony, which was opened by Ken Stepney, a member of the LEP board who is leading plans to establish an educational trust.
He said: "Quite often I get asked by people about apprenticeships and what employers are looking for.
"There is a tendency to think it is all about traditional skills but I talk to a lot of employers and they say what they are looking for is someone with a positive attitude, someone with energy and warmth.
"They are looking for team players, and from team players, team leaders develop.
"Our successful apprentices have all got the 'it' factor."
The Store, in Tontine Street, Hanley, will be holding a drop-in event for people aged 16 to 24 to learn more about apprenticeship opportunities and to meet training providers. It runs from 10am until 4pm on Wednesday.