College steams ahead celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

Full steam ahead for national apprenticeship weekIt is full steam ahead for Farnborough College of Technology student apprentices who have work placements on The Watercress Line in Ropley. The steam train operation has taken 6 engineering apprentices for the dream job of working with steam trains. As part of National Apprenticeship Week, the college arranged to take the apprentices to visit the new head of South West Trains at his head office in Blackfriars, London. Managing Director, Tim Shoveller, who used to volunteer on the Watercress Line and also attended Farnborough College of Technology as a business student. Tim explained to the students “I loved working on the line, it was a fantastic start to my career with the Railways, working with volunteers and enthusiasts gave me a real insight into working with people and I think that that has been a key factor in my success”

College Principal, Christine Slaymaker, made a special trip to visit the apprentices at work.  Mrs Slaymaker said “It is wonderful that these young apprentices can learn some traditional skills from experts who have learnt their craft over a lifetime, these skills are then complemented by the more up to date engineering theory and practice in our new engineering building at the college” Christine chatted with apprentices Sam Rowbotham, Matthew Oakley and supervisor Derek Simmonds about the invaluable support apprentices provide, and the importance of apprenticeships for the country’s economic future.

Apprentice Sam Rowbotham said, “I have always had a passion for Steam Engines and I moved down from Coventry to become the first apprentice from Farnborough College of Technology to work on the Watercress Line” Derek Simmonds, the apprenticeship supervisor was so impressed by Sam that he applied for 5 more apprentices to work at the Watercress Line, with the intention of taking more on in the next academic year. Following the success of these apprenticeship schemes, other businesses such as British Airways,  have seen the advantage these programmes can have, and have introduced their own schemes with the college to support their planned growth.

National Apprenticeship week aims to inform young people and employers about the scheme and to celebrate the diversity of apprentices on offer throughout the UK. This year half a million people will start an apprenticeship. Any young people interested in an apprenticeship scheme should contact the College 01252 407299 or visit and find out how this scheme could mean the opportunity to earn while you learn, receive training, get paid holidays, in a job specific role.