Senior managers at the College of West Anglia left their desks to visit students and companies during Apprenticeship Week.
This is the second year that the College of West Anglia has organised its Back To The Floor event, which proved beneficial to the employers involved, the apprentices and senior managers.
Arlene Clark, executive director of curriculum and learning, visited RJ Herbert, which employs 150 people at Middle Drove, between King’s Lynn and Wisbech.
There she was given an insight by fabrications manager Nigel Clayton into its multi-million manufacturing and design operations which see its bespoke products go around the world, from farms to airports.
Currently the company has two apprentices George Carter and Ben Golding and Arlene was shown some of their training. This included two different forms of welding, under the watchful eye of Kristen Day, who has supported the apprentices.
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. Sadly I will be unable to take up welding as a career change due to not being very good at it.”
The company specialises in the world-class design and manufacturer of vegetable processing, grading, handling and packing systems. It also makes baggage handling systems for airports.
In Wisbech Hilary Auld, head of faculty for foundation, engagement and the arts, was welcomed by proprietor Paul Davies, who runs Top To Toe with his wife Sarah and a large team. The salon attracts clients from far and wide and appreciates the value of supporting apprentices.
Currently on the books are Jade Anderson and Mallory Matthew, who was a winner in the College of West Anglia apprenticeship awards.
Hilary said: “I was warmly welcomed into the team and given some great training and advice from Max Davies, a previous apprentice from Spalding.
“After a full tour of the facilities and a health and safety briefing, I learned how to give a hand massage and then a shoulder and head massage.
“Paul 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.
“I then went on to apply a full head of colour, but this time not on a client I am glad to say. Max took me through the whole process and helped me every step of the way.
“I was quite pleased with my results, not perfect, but a really interesting experience. I learned a great deal and was impressed with the whole salon as a learning environment. I was also invited back to visit the salon on a training night, so that future apprentices could practice on me!”
The aim of the visits is for senior managers to get a view of the apprenticeship programme and support from the apprentices’ and employers’ viewpoints and also engage with them.