Employment facilitator Slough Aspire appoints its first apprentice
For the first time in its short history, an apprentice has been taken on by Slough Aspire, a thriving community initiative formed through an alliance of private and public sector organisations that aligns potential employees in the locality with the requirements of large and small businesses in Slough.
Seventeen-year-old Sam Biggs has started a two-year apprenticeship with Slough Aspire. As Aspire Centre Co-ordinator: He will be responsible for running and developing the vital IT resources that support the organisation’s activities. These include employment-oriented learning courses, careers awareness events, and hire of facilities to the local community and businesses. In particular, due to his interest and existing skills in digital technology, Sam Biggs will be developing the centre’s website and online resources.
As part of his apprenticeship, Sam Biggs will also attend East Berkshire College in Langley one day a week to gain a level three computing qualification, a BTEC Extended Diploma in IT. With nine GCSE qualifications from Burnham Grammar school Sam Biggs already possesses programming language skills in HTML, Java Script and CSS and is planning to learn more including Python.
“I’m excited to be part of an important employment initiative in Slough and am really enjoying the challenge,” he says. “The whole experience of working in a busy and demanding environment and receiving a higher education at the same time will give me a much better start on the employment ladder, plus an extremely valuable qualification in computing.”
One of his first projects is promoting Slough Aspire’s online jobs board, an important part of the joint venture community enterprise, which displays employment postings on behalf of local employers with vacancies in Slough post code areas SL1, SL2 and SL3.
“We practice what we preach,” says Fiona Jones, Chief Executive of Slough Aspire. “By appointing an apprentice, Slough Aspire is demonstrably supporting an important trend in the UK that is strongly endorsed by the government.”
Since it was launched in late 2013, she says, the joint venture initiative has grown rapidly, successfully serving both the employment ambitions of the community and the continual expansion of business in Slough. “We are very pleased Sam has joined us and with his skills and enthusiasm he will make a strong and welcome contribution towards continued growth.”
Sam Biggs had one job prior to joining Slough Aspire, with a restaurant company where he acquired valuable experience dealing with the public, finances and food. He also attended East Berkshire College to learn more about computing and programming, where - as the college is a founding partner of the community initiative - he came across the apprenticeship opportunity.
“Turning courses into job outcomes and providing real career paths for local people is at the heart of East Berkshire College’s work and the college is a lead partner in Slough Aspire,” says Fiona Jones. “When the apprenticeship was advertised, the college supported us to target students who would be interested in our vacancy.”