20 April 2016

Telford College of Arts and Technology is flying the flag for Shropshire in a national competition to find the ‘apprentice team of the year’.

A team of nine from TCAT is taking part in The Brathay Apprentice Challenge, supported by the National Apprenticeship Service.

To win the title, they have to undertake a series of interactive work-related challenges to develop new skills, and engage with young people and businesses to promote the benefits of apprenticeships.

The challenges are designed to demonstrate teambuilding, leadership, logistical and communications abilities.

This is the first time TCAT has taken part in the competition. The nine apprentice team members are completing intermediate or advanced apprenticeships in the areas of IT, Accounting, Business Administration and Sport.

Hayley Corbett, apprenticeship recruitment manager at TCAT, said: “The Apprentices gain teambuilding, leadership, logistical and communications skills by taking part in this competition.

“The challenge has certainly encouraged our apprentices to step outside of their comfort zone enabling them to become more confident, more aware of their own capabilities and ultimately more employable

“Taking part in the Brathay Challenge also gives our apprentices the opportunity to get involved in PR and Corporate Social Responsibility tasks, as well as networking with business support organisations.”

The nine apprentice team members are team leader Corey Tromans, plus Jake Fitchett, Cameron Scull, Kirsty-Lee Young, Jordan Bainbridge, Hayden Moore, Agatha Edmunds, James Voyce, and Dan Smart.

Corey says: “We are well into our challenge now and our team has a few weeks left until we submit our portfolio, listing the activities we have been involved in geared around promoting the benefits of apprenticeships in local schools, colleges and community groups.”

Corey, 20, started his apprenticeship with the college back in 2013 and has progressed to become an IT Desktop Support Technician, employed on a permanent contract with the college.

“I went into an apprenticeship as I knew this was the right way for me to learn in a hands on role,” he said. “I love IT, supporting our users and using my problem solving skills so an apprenticeship gave me the chance to develop work-related skills, gain a qualification and earn a wage.”

He said the team was thriving on the Brathay challenge, getting involved in organising school presentations informing young people about the benefits of completing an apprenticeship, allowing them to hear it from an apprentice’s point of view. “We were once in their shoes and can remember what it was like.”

The team has also gained great experience by attending business networks promoting the benefits of apprenticeships to employers, and has organised a breakfast event at TCAT on April 22 engaging with new employers and encouraging existing apprentice employers to champion their experiences to other companies.

Kirsty-Lee Young, 20, is also involved in the challenge and works as an apprentice in the TCAT finance department. Kirsty-Lee has arranged a job swap with a local councillor and says she is really excited about going out to shadow a planning project in the community - as well as being able to showcase the contributions that the apprentices make in their roles at the college.

And it doesn’t stop there . . . the team has a local community project lined up to support the area’s local food bank.

Eight national finalists in the 2016 Brathay Challenge will be announced on May 19, at the House of Commons. The finalists will then go on to compete in team-building challenges at the Brathay Trusts Windmere HQ where the winners will be announced in June.

The Brathay Trust, which organises the competition, supports young people and their families to overcome any barriers they face when finding a path into education, training or work.