Apprentices Sent Out ‘On Loan’ To Widen Experience

Two carpentry apprentices have gone out ‘on loan’ to another employer, in a unique soccer-style partnership which is helping young people gain the widest possible experience.

18 year-old Aaron Wade and 20 year-old George Robinson are both in the second year of three year apprenticeships with Orwell Repairs Service (ORS), the repairs and maintenance arm of affordable housing provider Orwell Housing Association.

But with the pair needing to gain experience in house construction as well as repairs, Orwell turned to Lowestoft-based Wellington, which is currently building new homes for Orwell on two sites in the town, at Cutler Road and Northwood Close. 

Wellington, whose managing director Paul Pitcher started his own career as an apprentice, offered to take the pair on temporarily to allow them to gain the experience they needed to progress through their qualifications.

“I know from personal experience how important it is to gain as wide an experience as possible, and how difficult it can be to do that,” said Mr Pitcher.  “So when Orwell asked us if we would take Aaron and George ‘on loan’, we were very happy to do so.

“It’s a bit like a football club sending a young player out on loan to gain playing experience – it benefits everyone, most importantly the young people involved.”

Aaron, who joined Orwell as an apprentice after doing his GCSEs at Coplestone High School in Ipswich, and George, who went down the same route after doing his A Levels at St Albans School in Ipswich, are both on a three year carpentry apprenticeship with ORS, which sees the Government support their college and training costs, whilst ORS pays their wages and other costs.

The pair are among eight apprentices currently working for Orwell – as well as several former apprentices who have progressed into full-time employment with the organisation.

“It is great to see young people we have brought on through initial training progress into skilled employment,” said Orwell’s chief executive Stephen Javes.  “Our repairs service can give our apprentices a pretty wide experience, but on this occasion we needed Wellington’s help to fill in the gaps.

“It is an indication of the great partnership we have with Wellington that they immediately offered to help, something that shows that they too share our commitment to helping young people develop the skills that they will need to succeed in the workplace.”

From left Paul Pitcher Wellington apprentices Aaron Wade and George Robinson Stephen Javes Orwell