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QinetiQ apprentices in support of National Apprenticeship Week


QinetiQ Apprentices at MOD Boscombe Down have created an Olympic-style torch that will tour the south of England promoting apprenticeships to employers and training providers.

The torch has so far visited a business breakfast at University Technical Colleges Swindon and its next stop will be a business breakfast in Salisbury on Wednesday, 4 March.

The Skills Funding Agency tasked QinetiQ apprentices with creating the torch for its ‘Pass the Torch’ campaign, to symbolise the way in which apprenticeships transfer knowledge.

Dan Jones, a second year mechanical aeronautical apprentice at QinetiQ, explained the thinking behind the resulting design and the teamwork that went into creating it:

“At first we split into teams and sketched out 20 ideas, from simple tube shapes to one that looked like Sauron’s tower in Lord of the Rings. We narrowed those down to six and then combined some of the best elements to create the final design, which DSTL apprentice Chris Smith modelled using CAD.

“The torch features a cone shape surrounded by a spiral, representing the expansion of knowledge. A bright LED projects light through a lens from the top, symbolising enlightenment from learning, while flickering red and orange LEDs represent the fire and spark in the apprentices.

“The body is made of brass, aluminium and carbon fibre, showing the progression of materials through the years. This makes use of all the different apprentices’ skills, such as machining metals, cutting carbon fibre, CAD design and electronics.”

The Pass the Torch tour showcases how apprenticeships help businesses to grow their own talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. It is one of a number of events expected to take place across England to mark the eighth annual National Apprenticeship Week (9-13 March 2015). The torch also demonstrates pledges by employers to recruit apprentices in the future.

Paul Lucken, Deputy Director Employer & Delivery Services for Thames Valley, Skills Funding Agency, said:

“Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Government’s drive to equip people with the skills employers need to grow and compete. Nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice reports benefits to their business from improved productivity, products or services, the introduction of new ideas to the organisation, improved staff morale and better staff retention.”

Following the Salisbury business breakfast, the torch will attend a series of competitions being held by five colleges in the West of England as part of World Plumbing Day on the 11th March. Wiltshire College, Swindon College, Gloucestershire College, City of Bristol College and South Gloucestershire & Stroud College are opening their doors to local employers so they can see future apprentices at work and learn how apprenticeships can bring benefits to businesses.

If you would like to attend one of these events, please contact your local college.

Notes for editors:

National Apprenticeship Week 2015 – 9-13 March 2015
National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

National Apprenticeship Week 2015 is all about:

  • getting more small businesses to take on apprentices
  • promoting the range and breadth of apprenticeships on offer, including those at Higher level and within blue chip companies
  • celebrating apprenticeships and the level of success that learners can achieve

The Skills Funding Agency

The Skills Funding Agency is a partner organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Its job is to fund and promote adult further education (FE) and skills training in England, including traineeships and apprenticeships, in a way which supports economic growth. The Agency delivers £4.1 billion of skills training through contracts with over 1,000 colleges, private training organisations and employers, with a highly effective supply chain that means FE meets local need in the most cost-effective way. Within the Skills Funding Agency, there are two customer-facing services: the National Careers Service, which provides impartial careers information, advice and guidance online, by telephone or face-to-face and the National Apprenticeship Service, which is responsible for increasing the number of traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities.

The National Apprenticeship Service supports, funds and co-ordinates the delivery of apprenticeships and traineeships throughout England and provides a dedicated, responsive service for both employers and learners. This includes simplifying the process of recruiting an apprentice or trainee through apprenticeship vacancies, an online system where employers can advertise their vacancies and potential apprentices or trainees can apply. Research shows that apprenticeships are an optimal way of training, developing and skilling people for the future, helping businesses to secure a supply of people with the skills and qualities they need and which are often not available on the external job market.

Traineeships were introduced in August 2013 and are available for 16-24 year olds. Traineeships are an education and training programme with work experience focused on giving young people the skills and experience they need to be able to compete for Apprenticeships or other jobs. At the core of traineeships are work preparation training, English and Maths (for those without GCSE A*-C standard) and a high quality work experience placement. Traineeships are a stepping stone to future success for young people, businesses and the wider economy.

There has never been a better time to employ an apprentice, or start an apprenticeship.

For further information, please contact
QinetiQ Press Office on Tel: +44 (0) 1252 39 3500
Email: PressOffice@QinetiQ.com