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GSK apprenticeship event attracts record numbers

Published on: Friday 18th March 2016
Categorised under: Learn , Apprentices, GSK, Ulverston

An open evening at GSK's site in Ulverston attracted a record 180 people wanting to find out more about apprenticeships opportunities.

The event on March, Tuesday 15 was organised by a team of nine apprentices competing in the Brathay Apprenticeship Challenge, a national competition to help apprentices develop their skills and showcase their employer.

Tom MacDonald, Brathay Challenge team leader and a second year apprentice at GSK, a partner of Choose South Cumbria, said: "It was the highest turnout GSK has had in five years and attendees ranged from school leavers to people in their early 20s. A lot of people had already applied for an apprenticeship and wanted to find out more about the company and talk to the apprentices to find out about their personal experiences at GSK."

As part of the competition the GSK team has scored valuable competition points by promoting the benefits of an apprenticeship to young people at five local schools including Dowdales, Chetwynde and Choose South Cumbria partner Ulverston Victoria High School.

It can also gain points by attending careers fairs and by encouraging business to take on apprentices - something they will do at a special business breakfast today (March, Friday 18).

Apprenticeship leader, Terry Sandham, the learning and development advisor at GSK said: "If the apprentices can convince a business to take on an apprentice, they'll not only score more points but also gain valuable presentation skills.

The GSK team is also working with children's charity WellChild to transform a garden for the family of a disabled child in Barrow-in-Furness. Terry said: "Our apprentices are giving two full days of labour to build a boy a den and really make a difference to his life."

In May, the GSK team will go to the Houses of Parliament to find out if they will be competing in the final, which will see eight regional winners facing off at the Brathay Trust in Ambleside. They could find themselves following in the footsteps of LED manufacturer Oxley Group, also a partner of Choose South Cumbria, whose team finished fourth in the 2014 finals. The 2016 winner will be announced on June 15.

Tom added: "I've learnt a lot during the challenge, from organising events to communicating with people on site. At GSK, people give up a lot of time to help apprentices. It's not just management who help to develop apprentices, it's a commitment from everyone on site."

GSK is taking on 14 apprentices this year across a variety of roles including manufacturing, supply chain and business admin. The closing date for applications is March, Thursday 31.

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