Local News | Sir George Young Goes 'Back to the Floor'North West Hampshire MP Sir George Young had a taste of life as an apprentice this week having gone ‘back to the floor’ with Business Administration Apprentices Daniel Weeks and Ellie Hamblen at Test Valley Borough Council.

Sir George rolled up his sleeves to work alongside Daniel and Ellie to celebrate the College’s first class Apprenticeship programme during National Apprenticeship Week 2015. Visitors to the offices at Beech Hurst may have been surprised to be greeted by Sir George as he manned the reception desk.

Sir George also met past apprentices who are now permanent members of staff at the council, including Jordan Boon, who was awarded Andover College Apprentice of the Year in 2014.

The experience gave the MP a valuable insight in apprenticeships as he followed quite a different education and training path to his political career, commenting: “I’ve had a very interesting time at Beech Hurst, headquarters of Test Valley Borough Council meeting a number of Apprentices and I have been enormously impressed with how an Apprenticeship leads to a good job, with a good employer. The other thing that impressed me was the way Test Valley staff help the Apprentices, give then the training, the background and the support they need and work with them. And also the supervision from Sparsholt and Andover College, making sure they’re happy in their work, completing the course and monitoring the progress they’re making in the various modules. I am also delighted to hear Test Valley are seeking to increase the number of their Apprentices – it has been a very encouraging and positive afternoon.”

Daniel and Ellie are studying a Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship with Test Valley Borough Council. The course will provide them with skills needed to progress in a business support role covering areas such as administration, communication, providing reception services and IT skills.

Commenting on the programme Ellie said: “I chose to do an Apprenticeship and go straight into work as it provided me with more experience, especially working for Test Valley Borough Council. There are many opportunities for progression working with the Council and lots of departments I can gain valuable experience in. I would recommend an Apprenticeship as it gives you good practical skills and you get paid to learn.”

National Apprenticeship Week is an annual celebration of apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. Andover College is known for the quality of its provision and the highly supportive team of Apprenticeship Liaison Officers who ensure the entire process, from identifying a vacancy, recruiting an apprentice, working with the employer and apprentice and the successful completion of the programme, go as smoothly as possible.

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Ian Carr, said: “We were delighted to welcome Sir George Young to Beech Hurst on Friday. The visit was a valuable opportunity for him to talk to our Apprentices and find out more about the advantages of combining a work placement with academic study. Many of our former Apprentices have gone on to secure permanent roles within the council and we are very proud to be a key part of their early career development.”

Apprenticeships offer a high standard of training, formal qualifications and improved job prospects for trainees with research showing that qualified apprentices are considered to be 15% more employable than non-apprentices. Companies see the benefit too, with 96% of those who employ an Apprentice reporting benefits to their business.

Andover College offers a wide range of apprenticeships from accounting to vehicle maintenance. For more information please visit www.sparsholt.ac.uk or speak to one of the team on 0845 850 0916 or email apprenticeships@sparsholt.ac.uk

Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via editor@andoverandvillages.co.uk or alternatively called at