Stockport College celebrates unsung heroes during National Apprenticeship Week
Stockport College is marking National Apprenticeship Week by celebrating the vital role of apprentices during the Covid-19 pandemic, five of whom are supporting the delivery of crucial medical supplies for Nightingale hospitals.
With apprenticeships spanning dozens of curriculum areas, many College trainees have been performing essential tasks on the frontline in areas such as teaching and science as well as within the NHS, while studying for their qualifications through successive lockdowns.
Among the unsung heroes are a group of engineering and business administration apprentices who have been helping Oxylitre meet a 30 per cent surge in demand for its medical devices throughout the pandemic, including oxygen-based alternatives to ventilators.
The trainees have been instrumental in performing quality control, production and administrative duties, enabling experienced staff to work round-the-clock in the manufacture, supply and maintenance of critical care apparatus to save lives around the globe.
Oxylitre Group Product, Research & Development and HR Manager, Clive Francis, said: “Apprentices have played a pivotal role in our operations. They’re receptive, keen and have even taught us a thing or two to help streamline our working practices and operate more cost efficiently, with the ideas from their classrooms.
“I can’t think of anything more rewarding than helping the next generation into the job market and helping them to grow and become confident. We only feel immense pride when we watch someone gain a skill set that they can take with them for the rest of their lives.
“We have a great relationship with the College, staff are always available on the phone or in person when we need them, and its apprenticeships form an integral part of our strategic planning for future growth. We only hope our apprentices stay with us to get the full benefits of permanent roles with the company.”
Apprentices are trained up in several different departments at Oxylitre depending on their interests, including the invention room where bespoke products are made, and trainees are matched to the right courses run by the College to suit the needs of the company.
Assistant Principal – Adult Skills and Apprenticeships, Joan Scott, said: “I’m incredibly proud of how our apprentices, their employers and our dedicated team of staff have adapted to the ever-changing circumstances we have all experienced over the past year due to Covid. This National Apprenticeship Week I would like to give particular praise to those performing vital services for our community at a time of great need, these people are real unsung heroes.”
Hear it from the apprentices...
Engineering apprentice James McCrudden said: "Having been officially part of Oxylitre team for the past 3 months I have been treated really well. Everyone here is kind and easy to get along with and they really welcomed me with open arms.
“I have picked up various skills in my short time here from things as simple as how to sharpen drill bits and soldering, to wiring up portable suction pumps on my own. With each passing day I learn something new that helps me be more independent with my work and I can already confidently build a portable suction pump [Editors note: typically used in emergency procedures to remove fluid/mucus from a patient's airways] on my own with little to no supervision.
“I have many hopes for my future with Oxylitre, I hope to be able to gain as much experience here as I can and help with the development of the company in the long run, even one day give my experience to a new apprentice in the years to come.”
Engineering apprentice Kieran Garrity said: "During my apprenticeship at Oxylitre I have learned valuable skills which I will take with me throughout my career such has brazing, forming a strong base on working with multiple different pieces of machinery like centre lathes and bench drills. Both my College and my company have been excellent in guiding me through my apprenticeship so far, making sure I’m learning and taking my work on board. In the future I would like to continue building my career with Oxylitre and advance into higher roles within the company.”