High-flying Accrington and Rossendale College Apprentices at two of Hyndburn and Rossendale’s best known businesses have been celebrated during National Apprenticeship Week.

Principal of Accrington and Rossendale College Amanda Melton went ‘back to the floor’ at Rosslee Construction during the annual celebration of Apprenticeships, while Head of Work Based Learning Debbie Howard visited Freddie’s Hair Salon in Rawtenstall.

During the visits, Amanda and Debbie had the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the respective businesses, enjoy tours of the facilities, view demonstrations with high-tech equipment and meet the Apprentices.

This year’s National Apprenticeship Week theme was ‘Blaze a Trail’, highlighting the benefits of Apprenticeships to employers, individuals, local communities and the economy. Accrington and Rossendale College currently has 350 Apprentices across a wide range of industry sectors who are supporting employers and the local economy.

Rosslee, based in Accrington, currently have eight Apprentices employed in a range of trades including Carpentry and Joinery, Brickwork, Plastering and Groundwork.

Gary Clarkson, Managing Director at Rosslee Construction, said: “We’ve been employing Apprentices from Accrington and Rossendale College for over 30 years as they are valued assets to the company, who contribute greatly to its performance.

“We will always have first, second and third year Apprentices as they are integral to the success of the business.

“When an Apprentice progresses to Level 3, they are skilled professionals that play a pivotal role within the company. Watching an Apprentice grow into a skilled tradesman is extremely satisfying.

“One of the site managers started out as a College Apprentice, so there are always progression opportunities after completing an Apprenticeship.”

Award-winning Level 3 Site Joinery Apprentice, Oliver Shipston, 20, said: “My Apprenticeship covers a wide variety of tasks that keeps me focused and interested in the job.

“I left school and did A Levels before moving onto an Apprenticeship in Site Joinery. I wasn’t 100% sure Joinery was right for me, but now I am so pleased I did it.

“My Apprenticeship has been invaluable. I have a job I love doing, I learn new skills both in work and at college, and I have scope for progression.”

Fred Cunliffe is the founder of Freddie’s, one of the best-known salons in the North West, with a reputation for being at the cutting edge of style.

Fred said: “I currently have four Apprentices and they are vital staff members who help run the salon. Apprentices bring energy, enthusiasm and new ideas to the salon – and that’s why we’ve chosen to have Apprentices for 28 years.

“We would definitely recommend Accrington and Rossendale College as a provider without any hesitation. We wouldn’t choose any other provider.”

Apprentice Katie Higginbottom, 17, said: “Since starting my Apprenticeship, I have learned so many new skills in hairdressing, but I’ve also developed my communication skills too. The college has been really supportive and so has my employer.”

Level 2 Hairdressing Apprentices Katie Higginbottom (L), and Katie Rushton (R), with Head of Work Based Learning Debbie Howard at Freddies Hair Salon, Rawtenstall.

Amanda Melton said: “It was an absolute pleasure to be invited into Rosslee Construction during National Apprenticeship Week to meet with our highly successful Apprentices, and to learn more about one of our key employer partners. 

“I would like to extend my thanks to Freddie’s too for welcoming in my colleague Debbie to celebrate our much-valued Apprentices that the College has placed there, and to celebrate the continued positive impact they are having on the salon.

“Between the two businesses, they have supported the College with Apprenticeships for almost 60 years, which is a true commitment to the programme. We look forward to continuing our successful working relationships with Rosslee and Freddie’s over the coming years.”

For more information about Accrington and Rossendale College’s Apprenticeship offer contact 01254 389933 or visit www.accross.ac.uk/apprenticeship