A 17-year-old apprentice has received the accolade of Apprentice of the Year at the Houses of Parliament in the competition organised by Group Training Associations, England. Bobby Duff joined Leighton Buzzard based British Converting Solutions (BCS) in October 2013 as an intermediate apprentice in business and administration. He showed great promise from the start and operations director Simon Penwright recognised his potential.
“BCS believe in investing time and resources into our apprentices and we monitor their performance closely,” comments Penwright. “We discuss their progress with them regularly and encourage them to fulfil their potential. If an apprentice shows flair in a particular field we can adjust their training programme accordingly and add specific, relevant modules. Bobby demonstrated his aptitude and ambition to succeed within weeks of joining us. A year on he organises and holds supplier meetings, controls our manufacturing software and is currently processing £1.7 million of purchased product per annum.”
BCS is the only British manufacturer of box making, box folding and gluing machines which are exported around the world. Continuous research and development to improve the efficiency of its machines requires innovation and highly skilled engineers and designers. The company currently employs seven apprentices and considers apprenticeships to be the best way to ensure a dedicated, appropriately trained workforce. BCS utilises the services of Thames valley training provider ATG Training to find suitable applicants and to provide training modules at its Aylesbury-based training centre. ATG Training has been campaigning to raise awareness of apprenticeships and the consequent advantages and opportunities for school leavers.
“Bobby is a great example of the potential an apprentice has to succeed and we were delighted to see him win the award,” says Halina Simpson, chairman and interim chief executive of ATG Training. “For a young person who wants to build a career, having the opportunity to work for employers like BCS who are willing to invest in their apprentices is so valuable.”
“I have realised that an apprenticeship is only the start,” says Duff. “It has opened my mind to so many more opportunities for progression. More specifically, it has given me a good understanding of how hard work, motivation and ambition can lead you into a great career.”
Now a national award winner, Bobby wants to share his experiences with others and is hoping to visit his secondary school to give a presentation about apprenticeships; he wants to mentor future apprentices continuing build his career at British Converting Solutions.