Pendennis has secured its place in the history books by winning the inaugural Apprenticeship Games.
Held last Wednesday at Cornwall College St Austell, businesses and organisations with apprentices battled it out in a range of events that tested their mental, physical and creative skills.
Each team took turns at a gaming challenge on a PS4, a University Challenge-style quiz round with mascots and buzzers, a cake decorating challenge, a rowing and cycling stage, a blindfold team-building challenge and a task involving getting tyres across a room without touching the floor.
The ground-breaking event for apprentices and their employers across the South West, was a welcome and fun addition to National Apprenticeship Week, according to The Cornwall College Group CE and Principal Raoul Humphreys.
“This is about different businesses and apprentices representing a wealth of vital sectors for the region’s economy coming together to celebrate the thing they all have in common, an understanding of the value of apprenticeships,” he continued.
“Apprenticeships are a great way for people of all ages to earn while they learn, with opportunities to progress to a degree-level qualification. We see so many apprentices develop into outstanding employees, and this event is a great way for employers and apprentices to showcase the skills they’ve developed along their journey.”
Posy Brooks HR business partner for Gilbert and Goode and Heather Taylor HR coordinator for Ocean Housing took part with apprentices from Ocean Housing Group.
“It was great to get involved and support and encourage our apprentices, whilst encouraging more people to take part in apprenticeships,” Posy said.
Heather explained their apprentices “bring fresh new ideas to the table” and apprenticeships “are good for us as a business to grow our own talent and possibly succession plan”.
Accountancy firm Whyfield won the Leadership Award with team members managing director Laura Whyte who used to be an apprentice, Liam McCormick, 20, Jess Crook, 23 and Harriet Powell, 22, stating the games had been “really good fun”.
“People should definitely consider apprenticeships as an alternative to university, especially if you are not going to university with a specific career in mind,” Jess said.
“I am definitely glad I didn’t waste a few years doing that and you notice people who are doing an apprenticeship alongside their accountancy course have an advantage, as they are familiar with how it all applies in the workplace.”
Horticultural apprentice for Parnall, which won the Teamwork award, Bradley Mills, 20 from Bodmin, said it had been “an amazing day”.
“The blindfold challenge was great and challenging, and I’m definitely up for next year’s games.”
The day included a networking lunch to give businesses and sponsors the opportunity to engage and share their stories, an important component, according to Raoul.
“Fortunately, as the South West’s largest provider of apprenticeships, we are bucking the national trend and have noticed an increase in the number of apprenticeship starts for this year,” he explained.
“It’s because, not only do we work hard in partnership with businesses to identify their needs, we also work hard at spreading the apprenticeship message throughout schools.”
However, there is still work to be done and more people need to understand that apprenticeships are the perfect vehicle to combat one of the most common complaints from employers, that people entering the workforce are not ready, prepared or trained for working life, Raoul added.
As well as the gold, silver and bronze awards up for grabs, the challenges are designed to put the team’s leadership, teamwork and communication skills to the test, with judges awarding those who have best demonstrated these skills on the day.
“I want to thank the Apprenticeship Games’ sponsors the Centre for Housing Support, CIOS Skills Hub, Exeter University and CCB,” Raoul added.
“Your support is greatly appreciated and you have helped ensure today has been such a success and I am also looking forward to The Cornwall College Group continuing to work with businesses to spread the apprenticeship message.”
Teams taking part included Whyfield, Wales & West Utilities, Imerys, Pall Corporation who won the Silver Award, Cornwall Council who won the Bronze Award, Parnall Engineering Advanced, Pendennis, Exeter University, Ocean Housing Group and Eden Project.
To find out more about apprenticeships, call 0800 731 7594 or email firstname.lastname@example.org