Two female students from Accrington and Rossendale College are thriving in their roles after becoming Painting and Decorating Apprentices with the country’s largest commercial decorators.

Faye Chester and Kelsey Whewell, both 18, are working for Bell Group and became Painting and Decorating Apprentices after each enjoying a successful two-week work placement with the company in the autumn.

The duo have been out on the road with their Bell Group colleagues this winter putting their skills into practice working on a range of jobs in all weathers.

Faye and Kelsey were also happy to take time out of their busy working schedules to support Nelson and Colne College Group’s National Apprenticeship Week 2021 celebrations, and would recommend Apprenticeships to other would-be future tradespeople.

This year’s theme for National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Build the Future’, with a focus on how employers across the country train, retain and achieve with Apprenticeships.

Faye, formerly of Shuttleworth College, said: “Art was my best subject at school. I loved painting and being creative, it is something I was naturally good at, so that is why I went down the route of becoming a Painting and Decorating Apprentice.

“The Apprenticeship has been really good”

“The Apprenticeship has been really good – I like the responsibility of being an employee and working in a team. My confidence and communication has also improved through it, and I would recommend the Apprenticeship route to others who are looking to go into a trade in the future.”

Kelsey, formerly of Accrington Academy, said: “I chose Painting and Decorating because I like doing it, and when I first visited College, I found the department really good and the environment was friendly.

“It’s a great feeling to have become a Painting and Decorating Apprentice with a good company and I have enjoyed working on the exteriors of houses. With an Apprenticeship, you’re earning and learning at the same time, so I would recommend them as a way of developing your skills and your future career.”

Julie Lawrenson, National Training Manager for Bell Group, said: “We’ve been really impressed with the progression of Faye and Kelsey. Working outside throughout the winter, and of course in the middle of a pandemic, they really have got stuck in, have fitted well into the team at Bell Group, and have shown excellent application on the jobs they have been assigned.

“We’ve developed a very good working relationship with the College Group’s Construction team too, who provide great support to Faye and Kelsey’s knowledge and skills development on their College days once a week.

“It’s fantastic to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week together – as retaining Painting and Decorating Apprentices within Bell Group is important for our business. We have many examples of Apprentices that have progressed into middle and senior management roles within the company, and we have that aspiration for Faye and Kelsey too when they come to the end of their Apprenticeships.”

“We’re delighted to be working with Bell Group”

Alison Rushton, Vice Principal of Nelson and Colne College Group, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Bell Group, who offer a range of high-quality Apprenticeship opportunities that our students can benefit from.

“Here at Nelson and Colne College Group, we believe that Apprentices are going to play a vital role in the economic recovery, and our focus on the power of three – a successful synergy between Apprentice, employer and the College – ensures that we are best placed to support businesses and organisations to meet their goals.

“It is fantastic to see Faye and Kelsey are doing exactly that and are thriving in their new roles with Bell Group – something worth celebrating this National Apprenticeship Week.”

Following the extension of the employer incentive by the Government, employers who take on a new Apprentice before 31 March 2021 could receive up to £3,000 in total.

The benefits of Apprenticeships include earning a salary, training in the skills employers want, and excellent progression opportunities. There is also increased future earning potential, learning is done at a pace suited to the Apprentice, and Apprentices have the support of a mentor.

Accrington and Rossendale College offers Apprenticeships across a wide range of sectors and is number one in Lancashire for 16-18 Advanced Apprenticeship timely achievement, according to the latest Government data.

It is also number one in the county for employer satisfaction, based on the latest FE Choices Employer Survey.

For more information about Apprenticeships with Nelson and Colne College Group, please contact the Apprenticeship Team today at: apprenticeships@nelsongroup.ac.uk