Pupils rise to the challenge of a future in engineering
Technology firm engages students
Proud pioneers of innovative technology, Silverson, based in Chesham, is passionate about investing in tomorrow’s engineers and keen to raise awareness among young people of the opportunities available from apprenticeships, set pupils the task during the half-term school holidays.
Apprenticeship training manager Andy Darby said: “After struggling to recruit the right calibre of apprentices we decided to try and stimulate interest in engineering and the exciting opportunities available from apprenticeships by engaging with local schools with our engineering challenge.
“The challenge consisted of students working alongside Silverson apprentices for five days to build a real machine to propel a water balloon the furthest distance, based on supplied drawings, s t imu la t ing resourcefulness, innovation, and technical and practical skills among the student participants.”
Participating student, Jessica Teixeira, said: “I enjoyed the whole experience, especially working as a team. I took great pride in doing my best and felt very proud of my achievements. I would like a career in engineering.”
After struggling to recruit apprentices last year, this challenge was oversubscribed and since the end of the challenge Silverson has received a number of queries about the next apprenticeship intake in September.
Head of skills and business support at Buckinghamshire Business First Heather Dean said: “Locally we have more employers prepared to offer apprenticeships than there are suitable young people to fill them.
“Where employers in Buckinghamshire have offered apprenticeships, they report the applicants for apprenticeships are small in number and poor in quality.”
Skills Development Manager at Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership Jackie Campbell said: “In our high achieving county, young people are looking for fulfilling careers and it is important that apprenticeships are considered as a serious option alongside the default paths of college and university. We fully support initiatives like the Silverson engineering challenge, to help develop industry led skills and raise awareness of the career benefits and opportunities of apprenticeships for motivated young students.”
Apprenticeships enable people to acquire the skills needed for a particular job role or profession, at the same time as being employed and also gaining a qualification linked to the achievement of the skills.
The Buckinghamshire Skills Hub is highly instrumental in helping local businesses reach students and help prepare them for the fast-changing world of work.
A key element of the Skills Hub is the online hub (www.oppsinbucks.org), which connects employers and educators in the same way that other sites connect buyers and sellers, or service providers and service users.
Employers are able to register their willingness to get involved and state what they have to offer in terms of resources, visits, mentoring, work experience, part-time work, apprenticeships; and educators can respond to offers or post specific requests for support.
OppsinBucks and the Skills Hub helped Silverson to connect with educators and young people, to build the bridge between education and industry.
Students interested in applying for the Silverson Apprenticeship Scheme can call Alan Pepper on 01494 786 331. COLLEAGUES at a building society branch in Chesham are celebrating after being named Savings Branch of the Year.
The Skipton Building Society’s Star Awards 2016 featured representatives from the branch in Market Square receiving the accolade at the society’s annual conference.
Sarah Daniels, manager, said: “This is a great honour for everyone at our branch as it is the second year running we have won a Star award. Last year we won the Branch of the Year category. We have worked hard to deliver an excellent service for our customers and this is a fantastic reward. This makes it all worthwhile.
“Chesham won this award because our customers bring their savings to us.
“They trust us and love our No Pressure Promise and are happy to speak to us about their savings and what they are looking to achieve.”
From left, Jackie Campbell, BTVLEP Skills Development Manager, winning students for longest distance and Andy Darby, Apprenticeship
Training Manager for Silverson.