Apprenticeships are on the increase in Wellington after many years of decline. Relyon, the town’s biggest business, with 500 employees has taken on its first apprentices for a decade.
James Milton, 17, and Dan Bevington, 19, are training as maintenance engineers alongside skilled tradesmen, plus having a day a week at Somerset College studying for NVQs levels 2 3.
“We’re learning loads and there are so many different skills,” said Dan. “When you start trying to service a nine-needle sewing machine it’s best to be with someone who knows what they’re doing. Some stuff you can’t get out of a book.”
At the other end of the business scale, Michaela Davey ,19, has recently begun working as an apprentice to coin dealer Mike Crew in South St. It’s highly specialised work and there’s a lot of research to be done before she can showcase a coin on the company’s website.
“I do the background checks online to check the details are right and then the coin has to be dated and assessed for condition,” explained Michaela, who had no previous experience of this international trade in historic currency.
Jamie Hayman, 17, came to work at AVS, the specialist Audi garage, straight from school. “I’m really enjoying it, although I didn’t know that much about cars when I started,” he said from under the bonnet of an A6 estate.
Jeremy Brown MP visited some local youngsters at work recently to support National Apprenticeship Week.
“Youth unemployment is falling but it can still be difficult for young people to get themselves started in their working lives. So I am very supportive of the National Apprenticeship Week and I commend the effort made by local colleges and employers to encourage apprenticeships,” said the MP.