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03 March 2017

Swindon College is celebrating the achievements of apprentices past and present ahead of the 10th anniversary of National Apprenticeship Week (6th-10th March), as one of their former plumbing apprentices, now a local employer, is recognised in the prestigious Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list (compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service).

Wiltshire-based plumbing and heating company ‘CentraHeat’ was set up by Managing Director and former Swindon College apprentice Lee Flanagan in 2011. Since then the business has continued to go from strength to strength, with Lee choosing to employ apprentices through his former college to support this growth. 

“We've always been committed to apprenticeships as a fantastic route to a fulfilling career” said Lee. “Having been through the programme myself I am passionate about giving young people the same opportunity, and understand the many benefits that apprentices bring to a business.’’

‘’We took on our very first apprentice almost 5 years ago now, and Swindon College have been on hand throughout, providing us with enthusiastic young people with real potential. The support we’ve received has always been fantastic; and as two of our three current apprentices have recently qualified we’ve just taken on another!’’

One of those now qualified apprentices is Jack Wichall, 20.

‘’An apprenticeship was the obvious choice for me’’ said Jack. ‘’I didn’t particularly enjoy school and knew that I didn’t want to get an office job. Going to college one day a week and then being able to get out and about and meet customers was great.’’

‘’I love the variety of work at CentraHeat, and am looking forward to continuing to work for them as a fully qualified engineer.’’

Swindon College Apprenticeship Training Co-ordinator Clare Popkin is thrilled to see that the programme has worked so well for Lee and his team.

‘’As a business, it’s important to bring in and nurture young talent to ensure the needs of the sector are met, both now and in the future’’ says Clare. ‘’And having been trained through the apprenticeship programme himself, Lee knows the value that that apprentices can bring. The success that CentraHeat has had is testament to this.’’

CentraHeat will join the College’s Apprenticeship Team on Monday (6th March) as they launch a week-long programme of activities to promote the 30+ apprenticeships available at Swindon College, with a dedicated apprenticeships open evening taking place on Thursday 9th March between 4-7pm.

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Image caption – top right: Some of the CentraHeat Team with their ‘Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer’ certificate. L-R Apprentice Aidan Brown, newly qualified engineers Jack Wichall and Robert Dawes, CentraHeat Office Manager Tracy Fieldsend and Managing Director Lee Flanagan

Image caption – bottom left: Newly qualified Gas Engineer Jack Wichall