A teenage Sutton apprentice and her boss are urging people to sign up to Sutton’s Apprenticeship Hub as part of National Apprenticeship Week (14-18 March).

This week staff promoting the Sutton Apprenticeship Hub, set up by Sutton Council, will be in the High Street speaking to 16 to 24 year olds about becoming apprentices.

The Hub, which can be found at Sutton Apprenticeship Hub launched in November 2015. Since then the matching site has signed up 60 businesses and has a noticeboard with 29 live jobs for apprentices.

Amy Crawford is a 19 year old from Sutton, who left Sixth Form in June 2014 and secured a 12-month apprenticeship with local human resources management business The HR Dept in Mulgrave Road, Sutton.

Amy said:

“Securing an apprenticeship is a big moment for anyone. It gives you exposure to the working environment whilst studying and gaining a qualification, as well as earning a wage.

“I have found the apprenticeship route to be a great alternative to university because it has given me a real-life experience in a working environment rather than theoretical learning.”

During her apprenticeship Amy gained business administration skills and HR knowledge while studying for an NVQ Level 3 Business Administration qualification and was also nominated for the National Apprentice of the Year award.

She is now qualified and works full-time as HR Co-ordinator for The HR Dept.

Amy’s boss, Fintan O’Toole, Managing Director of The HR Dept, advises young people to think seriously about an apprenticeship as an alternative to university. He said:

“I truly believe that for the right person an apprenticeship can be a fantastic alternative to university. If you are looking to follow a particular vocation – law, science etc – that requires a degree, then an apprenticeship can give you a flying start in the world of work.”

He added:

“Amy joined us straight from the Sixth Form with limited experience of the workplace. She has had the opportunity to try a range of different activities and has made a real contribution to the company. Her apprenticeship was a ‘win-win’ and we are delighted that Amy has chosen to stay with us following the successful completion of her course.

“Amy is now a full-time employee here at The HR Dept and we are now working with her on the next stage of her development.

“It is clear that Amy’s confidence, knowledge and authority have all grown significantly as a result of this process, and we would not hesitate in taking on another apprentice.”

Cllr Wendy Mathys, Chair of the Post-14 Progression and Employability Board (PEB) at Sutton Council, said:

“Apprentices are the lifeblood of businesses. They are dedicated, hard-working and can be moulded into invaluable employees. We set up the Sutton Apprenticeship Hub to bring together businesses with those wanting apprenticeships.

“I’m delighted that it is helping both Sutton’s workforce and businesses to succeed and I would urge people to sign up and get ahead.”

Caption: Fintan O’Toole, Managing Director of The HR Dept, and Amy Crawford, who has been taken on full-time following a 12-month apprenticeship at the company’s Sutton office