Seventeen mechanical engineering apprentices from NLT Training Services in Chesterfield swapped their steel toe-caps for football studs when they switched places with 20 apprentice footballers from Chesterfield Football Club (CFC) recently.
The Big Apprentice Swap took place during National Apprenticeship Week (9 – 13 March) and was organised by NLT Training Services, a specialist trainer and provider of apprentices in welding, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.
As part of The Big Apprentice Swap the CFC apprentices gained hands-on experience in welding, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering at NLT’s workshop. Whereas, NLT’s apprentices spent the day as footballers, undergoing physical training both in the gym and on the pitch at the Proact stadium.
Four of the NLT Training Services apprentices who took part in the swap were from Chesterfield-based Brettex Site Services.
Jordan Ragen, 21, a maintenance apprentice at Brettex, said: “I enjoy what I do on my apprenticeship, which involves engineering sewage equipment. I really like that I get to travel a lot as well as work hard.
“Taking part in the Apprentice Swap has been a real eye-opener into the world of football for me. I’ve always been a CFC supporter and I’m a keen football fan in general so I was thrilled to be able to come and participate.”
Sandra Nicholson, SHEQ manager at Brettex Site Services said: “Brettex Site Services are committed to employing apprentices as they allow our business to secure a supply of people with the skills and qualities that the business needs and are especially important for the replacement of an ageing workforce.
“We have found that our previous apprentices have tended to stay within the organisation hence our labour turnover is low.”
Chesterfield Football Club apprentice, Conner White 16, said: “We’re normally training for most of the week so the apprentice swap has been very different from what we’re used to! It’s been great to be able to learn life skills – I’ve even learnt how to fix a plug for the first time.”
Peter Zehdee, 17 from Canada, Chesterfield Football Club apprentice, said: “I came over here purely for football but it’s great to be able to take part in something like this to develop our wider life skills and to give us an insight into another career.”
Andy Sheppard, chief executive of NLT Training Services said: “The Apprentice Swap has given a fascinating insight into engineering for the future stars of Chesterfield Football Club, whilst our engineering apprentices experienced a day in the life of a football star. It was a great way to promote apprenticeships in our region.”
The event at NLT Training Services was also attended by Shadow Business Minister Toby Perkins MP who was eager to learn more about the organisation’s apprenticeship offering.
He said: “Apprenticeships are incredibly important to the country, they’re vital to ensure that the next generation of workers have a future. Apprenticeship Swap initiatives like the one held by NLT are great to give the town’s youngsters different eye-opening experiences to help them develop and discover what they want to pursue.
“It’s also great to see the wide range of equipment at NLT. It shows that they’re really helping to give young people the best chance in gaining employment through the skills they learn here.”