Apprentice in regional finals

Fire service apprentice competes in regional finals

FIRE service Apprentice James Russell is set to go head to head tonight against his contemporaries in the North West finals of the Apprenticeship Awards 2013.

The awards ceremony is hosted by the National Apprenticeship Service and takes place at the NOMA Building in Manchester today (Wednesday September 11).

The 21-year-old from Stafford works in the Business Intelligence Team, and was shortlisted thanks to his exceptional contribution to the service and work on a number of projects, including acting as an Apprentice Ambassador for Stoke on Trent College, who have provided his training throughout his Apprenticeship.

His trainer assessor, Joyce Underwood, from the Stoke on Trent College Workforce Development Team, said:

“Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is one of our key employers who has benefitted from employing Apprentices and now has more than 30 Apprentices in the service. The College was able to offer a bespoke package of training and support to the Fire Service, and James is currently undertaking a Higher Level Apprenticeship in Business and Administration, having begun as one of their first apprentices on a Level 3 qualification in Business Administration. But James didn’t rest on his laurels, and he was awarded the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Services MORE award this year, and an Individual Apprenticeship Award in business administration at the College’s Celebrating Success Awards. Now James has a permanent position within the service as his sheer determination to succeed has really shone through and he is regarded as an asset to the organisation.”

James said:

“I am really pleased to have reached the finals of the regional round of the Apprenticeship Awards 2013, as I’ve been told the competition was extremely tough this year. I’ve no idea what the prize would be if I won, but it’s just nice to get this far and have that on my CV to be honest. I think it’s important people realise Apprenticeships are a viable way to get a job. The great thing is you’re applying the skills you have learned to the workplace and vice versa, so it’s more relevant and really means something. You are getting a qualification and you get the opportunity to get your foot in the door with an employer.”

Tim Wareham, Training Manager at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said that Apprentices brought fresh and innovative ideas to the service.

He added:

“We are demonstrating that we are investing in the youth of today in order to develop a sustainable 21st Century workforce. As a result we have now embarked on a range of programmes, offering Apprenticeships in Community Safety, Catering, Administration, HR, Business Intelligence, Finance, Motor Vehicle, Supplies, Contact Centre and of course, Operations.”

The College currently has more than 1,250 Apprentices in more than 45 different areas, including hair and beauty, accounting, construction, engineering, retail, plumbing and bricklaying, with more professions being added all the time. It is currently recruiting students now for courses starting this year.

To find out more about the courses and Apprenticeships on offer at Stoke on Trent College visit, call 01782 208208 or join us on facebook at and you can email

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