Apprenticeships Aren’t Just For The Young

Groundwork North East & Cumbria is proving apprenticeships aren’t just for young people, after helping Dave Johnson, 69, gain new skills and qualifications.

Dave is undertaking an apprenticeship in Customer Service to provide him with the skills and knowledge needed to excel at his new role as volunteer coordinator at the Cleveland Fire Support Network, a charity which works alongside and in partnership with the emergency services to provide a variety of fire related services.

Through its partnership with New College Durham, Groundwork is on track to deliver 100 apprenticeships for people aged over 18 by the end of the year.

The aim is to provide people of all ages with the chance to gain the qualifications, skills and knowledge they need to change career paths or take the next step up the career ladder, as well as allowing organisations the opportunity to promote from within and develop its staff or volunteers.

Lisa Mannion, Dave’s assessor from Groundwork North East & Cumbria, said: “Groundwork is committed to improving the lives of people across the region, and providing people with the chance to retrain, and gain new qualifications and skills is an important part of that.

“Many people feel they’re stuck in one particular role because they don’t have the chance to gain the skills they need to progress, or don’t take up a volunteering position that they would love to do simply because they have no experience in that area.

“We have lots of different apprenticeships and non-vocational qualifications available and Dave is proof that it’s never too late to learn new skills, retrain to do another a job, get a new qualification to let you take a step up the career ladder, or even change your career path.“

Dave said: “A large part of my role at Cleveland Fire Support Network is visiting people who have impaired hearing in their homes to install and maintain sensory loss smoke alarms, which use vibration and light to alert the resident to the danger instead of noise.

“Before I retired, I’d never had a customer-facing role before, so I didn’t have any real customer service skills, but the training I’ve received has given me new skills and the confidence to take on all the challenges of my position.

“It’s great that at nearly 70, I’m learning new skills and getting new qualifications so that I can do my bit for people in the local community.”

Photo: Apprentice David Johnson with Groundwork’s Deborah Parkin at Coulby Newham Fire Station.