On the eve of National Apprenticeship Week, Ground Control has announced its involvement in an industry-first scheme to help support apprentices with learning difficulties.
Ground Control staff have already successfully supported, mentored and now employed the first graduate of the program, 20-year-old Wayne Gorman. Following close on his heels are two more pupils from The Westminster School – 19-year-old Jordan Brown has completed his supported internship and is transitioning to his grounds maintenance apprenticeship scheme while Kenny Hanney’s career has begun via the internship program.
Under the scheme, Ground Control provides practical help and advice to participants throughout their apprenticeship as well as co-ordinating with their school, training college and educational bodies to help adjust aspects of their training to ensure it is accessible and inclusive for people with learning difficulties.
It’s proving a hit with students, with The Westminster School identifying and supporting five more pupils who will move into the program over the next 12 months. Eventually, graduates will become their own bosses and work for themselves – as part of a qualified field team – and be given the appropriate level of support to enable them to work on suitable maintenance contracts on behalf of Ground Control.
“We’ve worked closely with teachers and regulatory authorities to make the training courses more accessible and flexible for people with learning difficulties”, said Roy Candlin, contracts manager at Ground Control. “A key to this has been the removal of barriers such as the requirement for five GCSEs that were preventing a lot of people like Wayne, Jordan and Kenny from achieving their potential.”
“No other apprenticeship program in the country compares to this,” said Oliver Flowers, head teacher at The Westminster School. “It’s a beacon of best practice as it gives our young people an opportunity to develop a career and gain real independence.
“Ground Control’s commitment highlights what can be achieved through partnerships with private sector companies – and the gains aren’t limited purely to the grounds maintenance sector. I encourage other industries to think about the benefits they can enjoy from involvement in a professionally run apprenticeship scheme.”