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The apprentices shaping the future of safety

10 February 2023

EACH YEAR, National Apprenticeship Week takes place to bring businesses and people together to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy. This year marks the 16th annual apprenticeship week and will run between the 6-12 February focussing on the theme, ‘skills for life’.

Apprenticeships are an invaluable part of the career journey, offering individuals the opportunity to gain important on-the-job training to learn the skills necessary to excel in their desired field. 

Apprenticeships can be an ideal way to bridge the gap between education and the workplace or offer some a route into a complete career change. They provide hands on experience, bolstering one's resume and broadening their professional network.

Within the health and safety industry, providing the practical and theoretical skills through apprenticeships is especially important. The UK has a strong health and safety culture, with a long history of legislation and enforcement of health and safety regulations. Ensuring that individuals have the necessary qualifications, certifications and experience for whatever job they do, reduces the risk of accidents and safeguards the health and safety of everyone in the workplace. 

Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, has a long history of supporting apprenticeships and was named as one of the top 10 UK family businesses supporting apprenticeships in 2022. The company’s apprenticeship programme, ‘Future Experts’, currently has 33 apprenticeships working across the business. Seven of these are external apprentices, with the remaining 26 consisting of internal colleagues who have undertaken an apprenticeship as part of their personal development and skills growth. The programme is part of the company’s three-year strategy with a goal to fully utilise its levy in the creation of future skills and benefit of the community. 

Arco works with a number of education partners, such as Ron Dearing UTC, to encourage their students to apply for the Arco apprentice scheme. The recent focus for Arco has been the development of future skills, specifically in relation to data analytics and management as well as other disciplines, such as customer experience, retail and health and safety. To become fully qualified at the end of an apprenticeship, the end point assessments can include exams, coursework, professional discussions, the completion of workplace projects and presentations. All apprentices work within the business while studying to gain a variety of on-the-job skills and experience while completing their courses.

Chloe Marshall, a digital apprentice on Arco’s Future Experts Programme, joined the scheme following completion of her A-Level studies at college and is currently working in Arco’s Project Management Team while completing her course. Katie Dale, Safety, Health and Environmental Coordinator at Arco, completed her Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) apprenticeship with a distinction and is now a key member in Arco’s SHE Team. 

Chloe commented, “My experience at Arco has been extremely positive. Throughout my Level 4 Information Management apprenticeship, my line manager has supported me at work and with my studies to help me find a balance so that I can complete my assignments whilst learning about my everyday job. Keeping within this year’s theme, Arco has open to giving me other opportunities to progress and develop in both my apprenticeship and my role at Arco."

Katie added, “The theme for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is quite fitting. Having completed my apprenticeship, Arco has supported me through the IOSH Managing Safely Qualification and the NEBOSH Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety along with the NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management and is continuing to support me in future training opportunities, including more health, safety, environmental and well-being qualifications. Arco has really given me the opportunity to gain skills for life which empowers me to work effectively in my current role.”

Alice Marren, learning and development partner at Arco said, "Our Future Experts Apprenticeship Programme is designed to provide people with the opportunity to learn and gain invaluable on-the-job experience. Not only does Future Experts bring new perspectives and ideas into our business, but it also helps to fortify our presence in the local community. We are proud to be able to offer this programme and are excited to witness the beneficial impact it has on our business and in the local area."

For more information, visit www.arco.co.uk