Four students are proud to have been shortlisted for apprenticeships, which will see them working at heights and learning key skills in health and safety, as they aim towards a career in scaffolding and safety solutions.

The Year 11 students, from Richmond School and Sixth Form College, were invited to visit Swale Scaffolding Ltd, in Brompton-On-Swale, for an introduction to the company and an informal discussion about the demands of the job. The company is keen to take a planned approach to recruiting their new intake of apprentices and is working in close partnership with Richmond School.  The students developed CVs and letters of application and were selected to be considered for work experience, which may lead to them being taken on as Level 2 apprentices.  Swale Scaffolding will recruit three successful candidates in September, with another intake in 2021.

The visit was hosted by Aaron Pepe, Contracts Manager, and Sarah Seymour, Health and Safety Manager, who explained to the students what they could expect in the role of an apprentice scaffolder. On-the-job training includes learning how to set up scaffolding, the materials and tools of the trade and the crucially important health and safety requirements.  In addition, the apprenticeship involves block training at NETA Training in Stockton-on-Tees.  Health and safety is paramount for the company who invest heavily to ensure each member of staff is wholly committed to ensuring themselves and their co-workers are safe on the job.  The students quickly discovered that being a good team player is a hugely important attribute of all employees at the company.

It was a very cold day, when snow fell during the visit, coupled with the tail end of a storm so, whilst touring the premises, the students really experienced what it would feel like to work outdoors in extreme weather conditions.  Sam Connolly volunteered to try on a scaffolder’s safety harness and was able to experience first-hand how this keeps workers safe.

Matty Davis said: “We gained a good understanding of the role and were shown what it would involve.” Cameron Jackson added: “We learned the importance of health and safety and that there is a lot more to the job than just putting up poles.” The students thoroughly enjoyed the visit as it was so interactive and they were commended for asking a great many questions.

Ms Mannion, Lead Teacher for Careers, who accompanied the students on the visit, commented: “All the students were a credit to the school when looking round the employer’s premises. They listened carefully and were very engaged.”

As an Alumnus of Richmond School and Sixth Form College, Aaron Pepe, Contracts Manager at Swale Scaffolding, is looking forward to the students coming for their work experience and said: “The students were inquisitive, interested, asking all the right questions and really got stuck in.”

Richmond School and Sixth Form College is dedicated to offering students work experience in both Years 10 and 12 and develops strong relationships with many local companies which lead to apprenticeships for students in a range of industries.   The school also works closely with members of the Fellmongers who organise an annual apprenticeship awards evening which will take place on Friday 27th March at the Town Hall in Richmond.