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Tangerine Communications

Annie Ellis – Dawson was furloughed during the last few months of her Business Administration apprenticeship due to Covid-19.

The end of Annie’s apprenticeship was incredibly uncertain due to the unknown circumstances of the pandemic and where this would leave the business. Annie Ellis continued to complete all assignments based on the work that had already been completed before COVID in the office. This included writing up essays explaining her role and focussing on the business itself.

As well as completing the apprenticeship Annie Ellis also experienced her own health difficulties yet still continued with the apprenticeship and was able to submit everything on time. Even though Covid-19 meant that Annie Ellis couldn’t finish her apprenticeship in the work place – she still continued to work hard from home and pass all requirements of the apprenticeship.

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Pearson UK

Benjamin Peermamode-Murphy works with the Customer Experience team as a Continuous Improvement Apprentice, working towards improving customers experience of Pearson UK’s products and services.

Ben flipped overnight to remote working, establishing a routine and a regular place of work, surrounded by his family and juggling teaching responsibilities to his 10-year-old sister. He sourced additional technology to improve his working environment – and to help with work/ life balance created a home gym by clearing, painting and fitting out the garden shed!

Ben continued to work as normal with his team, collaborating virtually by video/ using collaboration tools to get the job done.

In addition, prior to lockdown, Ben had signed up to volunteer with a Charity called Sense who specialise in working with people living with disabilities that impact the way they communicate and experience the world. Specifically, he volunteers as a buddy working 1 to 1 with a young person with autism and behavioural challenges. Young people with these challenges can be impacted in the way they communicate with their peers, and sometimes can be left feeling isolated. Thats where being a buddy comes in, somebody who will listen and provide the opportunity for the young person to express themselves. They met for the first time just after we went into lockdown and continue to meet once a week (virtually) to catch up and play games such as virtual Pictionary, interactive quizzes or just to generally have a chit chat about whatever it is the young person is interested in – Ben’s buddy is very into ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) so they often watch videos of that together on youtube! Ben finds it very rewarding and has provided him with a nice sense of purpose throughout all the craziness of lockdowns etc!

Ben’s line manager is co-chair of Pearson’s ‘Spectrum UK’ (the employee resource group for LGBTQ+ colleagues and their allies), and for Pride month the Spectrum team ran weekly virtual quizzes to provide people with a bit of escapism but also an opportunity to learn. Ben researched the best tools to enable these events and – having decided upon the technology – then worked with our global Diversity & Inclusion office to secure funding for the licences required to make this a reality. The quizzes were a huge success and Ben was a wonderful host. Word spread fast across the organisation and so he was invited to support Pearson’s Veterans employee resource group.

Ben is working on the last elements of his apprenticeship, yet he always finds time to help other people in the business.  Once I learnt of his skills as a ‘quiz master’ I asked whether he would be able to support our ‘Veteran UK’ (employee resource group for former military and public sector employees).  He took it upon himself to design the background to the quiz (which was excellent), worked on the quiz questions and as quiz master managed a very diverse group of individuals including some very senior managers.  All with a sense of fun and competitiveness.  What is particularly impressive is not just the enthusiasm he demonstrates but also the commitment he gives.  He went out of his way to research some of the questions and put together a little potted history or explanation etc which really added to the richness of the quiz. 

A weekly Friday meeting with his peers has also been something that his fellow apprentices have been complimentary about, the support he provides motivates progressing towards end point assessment and achievement of the apprenticeship as well as checking in on everyone’s wellbeing.   

Ben has brought positivity to his weekly team meetings where non work conversations and the appearance of Leonardo the dog lifts people’s spirits. 

More recently, during Pearson’s Global Learning at Work Week, Ben has signed up for several Learning opportunities – one of which was organised by Spectrum UK, involving an external speaker and the charity Stonewall UK. Following this event, Ben has volunteered to host a virtual quiz as a follow-up activity to mark International Pronouns Day. Ben has a curiosity that has also increased his awareness of many inclusivity groups and issues, and he is currently planning a Black Trans Lives matter quiz. Upon investigating questions and some background information for the quiz he was surprised to find how little information there was in this area. This is inherently Ben and the nature of his thought process is to be inclusive and to raise awareness in the business.  

Ben also connects well with our customers and at the start of lockdown reached out to offer help and support. The Royal National College for the Blind were struggling with the unpredictability of dates for assessments and Ben developed a live documents to keep them updated at this time – providing ease of mind and clarity for the staff involved. 

Ben has done and is doing all of this whilst caring for his family, including his 10-year-old sister for whom he is integral to the school run. And at the same time, he is completing his degree apprenticeship (Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship) which is due to finish in April 2021.

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Gweek Quay Classic Boatyard

Justin Sinclair’s role as a Marina and Boatyard Operative is to assist and support the Yard Manager in the day to day running of the boatyard. Justin is also responsible for the daily maintenance checks on the yard plant and tools as well as leasing with crane drivers and the office in planning the movements and lifting of customers boats.

Carrying out general yard duties as defined by the Yard Manager to ensure the safe and efficient running of the yard including cleaning of customers boats, preparing hulls for antifouling and to antifoul when ready to a high standard, chocking and laying up of vessels for winter, carrying out the necessary checks to the chocks during the lay up.

Since starting, Justin has had to quickly come to grips with a small working boat yard that prides itself on customer service and developing capability. The team is highly experienced, and Justin had the challenge of knowing little about the marine industry. He quickly familiarised himself with all the safety aspects and was signed off by the leadership team on allt he tasks he would be required to do. Justin quickly picked up boat handling and will be completing his RYA Powerboat Level 2 later this year. 

Justin has been released to complete his studies as an apprentice and has been carefully mentored by Drew Pilley. To widen Justin’s experience the yard organises for him to spend time with Andrew Cox Marine (amongst others) where he has learned a good preliminary knowledge of marine engines and has been able to trouble shoot on a regular basis. This has been very helpful during lock down when services were not available. 

During the Covid Lockdown Justin had already moved onto the yard with his partner Hannah and Husky dog Luna. Justin went beyond the call of duty of looking after the shielding residents living on houseboats on the yard, maintaining the security and condition of customers boats and looking after the yard while everyone was forced to be away. He took this on cheerfully and voluntarily and was regularly seen as the visible face of the yard during the hard-hitting lock down. Justin would support people happily and ensure that the yard and its residents remained safe. Quite an achievement for an apprentice!

As soon as lock down was relaxed, he jumped into his yard hand role ensuring we put the maximum amount of boats back into the water as quickly as possible. The workload for the small team over the period has been extensive and we are delighted with how well Justin has performed and still maintained his desire for learning. Justin is a success story as an apprentice, and we look forward to working with him further into the future. 

A huge debt of gratitude to Steve at Cornwall Marine Network in supporting Gweek Classic Boat Yard in their process of recruiting an apprentice and making this happen. Drew Pilley for his attention to detail and enthusiasm in mentoring Justin. A big vote of thanks to Justin in showing how an apprenticeship is done and becoming a vital member of the team at Gweek Classic Boatyard. 

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BAE Systems (Maritime Services)

As part of Lucy Kirkby’s Engineering Higher Apprenticeship, she was in a work placement which was supporting HMS Victory’s Hull Support System Replacement project. She played a key role in the project as it neared completion which included a range of engineering problems and solutions, overseeing cradle removals, stakeholder management and surveying activities whilst also continuing progress through her apprenticeship qualifications.  

Lucy Kirkby is an Engineering Higher Apprentice employed within the Maritime sector of BAE Systems. Her apprenticeship is a 4 year long scheme where she works towards achieving a Level 4 NVQ workplace engineering qualification, a HNC and a HND in Mechanical Engineering. During the course of the scheme she spends time in a range of business areas gaining exposure to a range of engineering environment

Habibur Rahman/ Portsmouth News

A role was established in direct support of the unique HMS Victory Hull Support System Replacement project. As one of Lucy’s apprentice placements it demanded a lot in terms of taking ownership and accountability of high profile engineering problems and solutions with the potential to significantly impact the organisation’s reputation, even under normal working conditions.

Operating within the confines of Portsmouth Naval Base and with no public visitation the project was allowed to continue which was directly supported on site by Lucy. She continued to support the project even committing to be on site full-time in the secluded office during the virus, regularly picking up early and late shifts to oversee Cradle Removal, Lifting Activities and conduct much needed surveying activities that progressed defect resolution to maintain the delivery programme.

The project is now gearing up to formally handover after completing the final sections of cradle and concrete removal under Lucy’s watch on site. An enormous bonus to the customer (National Museum of the Royal Navy) is that BAE Systems managed to deliver the project to allow the museum to open the attraction at the earliest possible opportunity, following COVID19. The news of the attractions opening and success of the project was featured in articles in the Daily Mail, BBC, The Times, INews etc. even a dedicated article in Portsmouth News about Lucy’s role as an apprentice on the unique project.

Via the project, Lucy has greatly benefitted from the BAE Systems apprenticeship by working with a range of multidisciplinary professionals. She has improved her awareness of Health and Safety protocols and procedures undertaking necessary reviews in light of COVID19. She has improved her communication and confidence, engaging strongly with members of the customer and contractors teams ensuring site operations continue smoothly.

Alongside the placement activity Lucy also continued to attend college on day release completing her Mechanical Engineering HND. During the Covid-19 situation when all educational establishments closed the partner college quickly moved to a virtual solution which saw Lucy maintain attendance at college through virtual lessons and delivery. Coupled with the challenges she was facing with the workplace at this time it has been extremely pleasing to how Lucy has managed both elements and will stand her in good stead for her future engineering career.

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Franklyn Financial Management

Part of Chloe Tatton’s role as a Business Relations Coordinator at Franklyn Financial Management includes her coordinating the company Educational Outreach programme which supports students from across Staffordshire, Cheshire, and Warrington. Whilst Chloe couldn’t physically go into schools to deliver assemblies, mentoring sessions and workshops to students due to COVID-19, she still did what she could to virtually support them instead.

The virtual sessions that she delivered during the pandemic encouraged students to keep their studies going as well as highlighting the different career pathways available to them once they have finished. Chloe also shared her knowledge around employability with schools from across the region as well as her own personal journey and the challenges she has had to overcome, inspiring students to keep a positive mental attitude during these times.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Chloe completed her Level 4 Business and Administration Apprenticeship and is now embarking on her Degree Apprenticeship in Chartered Business Management at Manchester Met University. Alongside all of this, Chloe also stepped forward to be an NHS Volunteer Responder during the COVID-19 crisis too, supporting the most vulnerable in our community.

As well as the educational outreach, Chloe is relentless in her charitable work and fundraising activities inside and outside of work. During the pandemic, Chloe oversaw all the company fundraising for many local and national charities and took a trip on behalf of FFM to our local food bank to deliver our donations.

Chloe’s continued passion for mental health awareness saw her once again encouraging others to look after their own mental health during this difficult time and through this, Chloe put together mental health support packs for employees at Franklyn and reached out to those in need. 

Chloe is now looking to provide even more support in the sub region.  She has applied to join the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise partnership Engagement Board which works alongside the LEP Board in setting and delivering an ambitious post-COVID-19 vision for Cheshire and Warrington, concentrating on major economic issues that will frame our region’s future direction.  

Chloe thoroughly deserves inclusion on the Apprentices on the Front-Line website and to be recognised for her attitude, commitment, and determination to not only succeed on her own journey but in helping others too. Chloe is an exceptional employee who always goes above and beyond for everyone whilst being a positive and happy individual to be around. 

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Trafford Council

Jade Gillick is an apprentice in Bereavement Services based Altrincham Crematorium. She has become a valued team member during her apprenticeship and was due to undertake her EPA just as Covid-19 hit. She took the decision to pause this, so she could ensure she was able to fully support the service and its clients during the pandemic. 

Jade has stepped up to manage the team working on the chapel front at the crematorium during Covid-19. We restructured the service to enable the chapel staff to work on a rota and concentrate on cremating and utilised the staff bank from people unable to work in their current roles to work on the front of house under Jades guidance. To do this Jade has moved into the office at the chapel where she continues to carry out her duties from a laptop whilst overseeing the day to day operations at the chapel. This includes meeting the funeral director and family on arrival, checking the music/visual tributes/webcasts are all on place and then leading the coffin into the chapel. Following each service the chapel and foyer are cleaned down before the next service takes place.

The limiting of numbers to ten mourners and restrictions such as no floral tributes or photographs in the chapel lead to some quite emotional situations. As rules, regulations and guidance changed over the months Jade ensured the staff were aware and that the service provision adapted to encompass these changes. Jade has been firm and maintained a professional and courteous approach at all times.

Jade has taken the responsibility to oversee the team which is made up of managers and senior representatives all of whom are older than her and with years of experience. She has taken ownership and stepped in when the team have struggled or had issues with the funeral directors or mourners and stood firm on the guidelines. She has organised and trained the team to work to the principles of the service and to try and give every family a dignified service for their loved ones. 

Jade has been a major lynchpin in making sure the service is able to continue to run to the high standards it sets itself during Covid-19. She is the link between the office and chapel and the funeral directors acting as a buffer for complaints. On top of this she also became an additional cleaner stepping in 3 nights a week around our usual cleaning provision to make sure the chapel and toilets were given a deeper clean each night. 

To sum up Jades commitment to work especially in the current circumstances in a few sentences is very difficult. She has stepped way above her role as an apprentice and taken command of a team of older, more experienced members of staff and lead them through some of the strangest and deeply emotional times the service has seen. She has earned their respect and that of almost everyone she has come into contact with for the way she handles herself and the situations she has been confronted with. To undertake the number of services we have with minimal complaint and is a massive achievement or the service and a lot of that credit goes to Jade. 

She was able to undertake her EPA in August and achieved a distinction. She is now commencing her level 3 Customer Service Specialist apprenticeship whilst still supporting the service with the on-going situation.   

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GlaxoSmithKline

Manufacturing Apprentice Robbie Lavin took a lead role in making hand sanitiser for the GSK Barnard Castle site including training other employees in the process. This was really important so that the site could continue to have controls in place in order to continue trusted supply of medicine to our patients.

GSK Barnard Castle is one of the largest secondary manufacturing sites in the network making sterile, dermatological and inhaled  products for our patients. Over 1000 staff work either making testing or supplying these life saving medicines.

Robbie aged 18 was six months into his first year of his apprenticeship when Covid-19 caused a lockdown on the site. Most of the site apprentices were sent home to work at home and continue studies along with many other staff members leaving a skeleton key worker crew who could continue to make the medicines needed. When it became difficult to continue a regular supply of  hand sanitiser to satisfy such a large site. The sire decided to make their own batches to ensure we could comply with covid controls.

Robbie came back on site to support this manufacture of important batches. In the process he became a real subject matter expert and for the next 6 months he helped to produce thousands of bottles ensuring safety within the site. Not only did he support it but he led the team,  took the lead and trained other established operators in this process following all health and safety guidelines and processes. As a result of this really important work he was recognised by the site for his contribution and his can-do attitude. This project was a fantastic development opportunity exposing him to new areas and people across the site. His confidence, communication , leadership and teamwork skills improved considerably. Not only that it gave him a real sense of pride and self worth to know he had volunteered for such a project which made a difference not only to the site but to our patients.

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George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust

During COVID-19 all face to face studies were placed on hold and students were launched into practice, delivering vital care to patients both with COVID-19 as well as other long term conditions.  Helen Mayne, a Student Nursing Associate Apprentice, supported patients to communicate with their family members who could not visit using innovative ways.  Helen continued to support nursing staff as a Student Nursing Associate as well as concentrating on her studies and her learning objectives. 

The Apprentice Student Nursing Associate is a new role developed by Health Education England, once qualified the Registered Nursing Associate will bridge the gap between the Registered Nurse and Healthcare Assistant.  

It is usual for the Apprentice to deliver hands on care to patients, however during the recent challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic all students were launched into unforeseen measures where diversity and self-sacrifice were required.  Helen was fighting the fight from day one, in the capacity of supporting the patients, the nursing staff and other members of the multi-disciplinary team but also as an apprentice who was required to complete her learning outcomes.  To keep patients safe it was required that masks were worn, which in turn created pressure sores on ears, wearing full Personal Protective Equipment for long hours especially during the heat was challenging, however necessary.  Helen had previously attended a phlebotomy study day, this enabled her to support the ward with the staff antibody test.  This gave Helen the opportunity to take lots of blood samples and gain experience in this area of her role.

Helen found some days harder than others, more and more patients were admitted with COVID-19 and she found it difficult to see them struggling to breath and difficult to explain why their families could not visit.  Initially Helen would find ways to try and cheer up the patients even if that meant singing and dancing.  When iPads were provided to the wards it enabled Helen to help patients communicate with their relatives, which was both emotionally difficult but also rewarding. 

Throughout the pandemic Helen has remained positive in her work ethic and has bought her own life experiences to help others and guide herself through this time.  Regardless of all the challenges presented by the pandemic, Helen has achieved all of her learning objectives and is excelling at university and is striving for a distinction.  Helen’s confidence has grown through the pandemic  and she has emerged professional and triumphant.

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Partnership Education

Sam Watts is a Service Technician and Technical Apprentice at Milton Keynes College working for Cranfield based tech company, Partnership Education. Prior to COVID-19, Sam’s job entailed going into schools to help them make the most of networking and cloud technologies. He was the ‘Go-To-Guy’ for when teachers weren’t quite sure how to use their software.

However, during COVID and while working from home, he was deluged with calls for help, not just from teachers but from parents and students, trying to get to grips with their newly-enforced distance learning. One of Sam’s biggest challenges was to help everything run smoothly even when the teachers and pupils involved are using vastly different devices and had very variable internet connections.

Sam is a tremendous ambassador for the business and during school closures, he did an amazing job helping to keep education going in the area. He has to balance being good at the technical side of the business but also having to win the confidence of the teachers and parents so that they feel like he’s part of the team.

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Beesknees Day Nursery

Due to Covid-19, Kara Tanner has had to adapt and change the way in which she learnt as college learning moved online and away from classroom based lessons. Everything was either completed virtually or through learning on the job during the challenges of pandemic.

As Kara’s training changed to working remotely, she was able to remain working throughout Covid-19. Kara was able to continue to offer support to the business in providing a safe and stimulating environment for the vulnerable and key worker children under the care of the nursery. Kara worked the whole way through lockdown and was very supportive to her team and manager that she worked with daily.

Kara did all of this at just 17 years old. The skills and knowledge she has learnt whilst qualifying as a level 2 during lockdown has made her want to go straight onto complete her level 3. She is a great asset to the team and continues to work hard supporting those in her care.