Parkdean Resorts manager from Northumberland highlights the value of apprenticeships

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The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) is urging more Northumberland employers to recruit apprentices.

The government department dedicated to the development of over 600 apprentice standards is showcasing the value of apprenticeships during National Apprenticeship Week.

Among those who have benefited from the scheme is Alex Pearson from Northumberland, who now works with Parkdean Resorts.

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He left school intending to pursue a career in finance but decided that numbers were not for him.

Parkdean Resorts apprentice Alex Pearson.Parkdean Resorts apprentice Alex Pearson.
Parkdean Resorts apprentice Alex Pearson.

Instead, he chose to work in a business where he could work with people.

To start with Alex spent time working with a property company. After the Covid pandemic Alex had the opportunity to join Parkdean Resorts as a manager in the hospitality industry.

Alex was very keen to support staff development in the company and decided to lead by example by doing a level five apprenticeship in operations management.

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He chose this apprenticeship because it was applicable to his existing work as a general manager.

What Alex loves about doing his apprenticeship is that it “helps with understanding the theory of the job” and gives him “the ability to take academic learning, implement it into your actual work and discover new ways of looking at something”.

Alex said: “[being able to] apply learning in real time and put it into practice on a daily basis gives real world validity to apprenticeships.”

Doing his own apprenticeship has given Alex an excellent understanding of apprenticeships and the hospitality business.

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In his role Alex champions apprenticeships for his staff to support them “to reach their full potential”.

He says that doing an apprenticeship helps his staff to “develop their confidence to do their job well” by improving their knowledge and understanding of their role.

His greatest job satisfaction comes from seeing employees he has helped succeed in their career and progress to the next step after doing an apprenticeship.

Alex recently joined the apprentice panel at IfATE.

He said: “I was keen to work with IfATE because I want the apprenticeship process to be as smooth as possible and ensure that people are aware that apprenticeships are relevant to their actual jobs - especially in the hospitality route.”

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He hopes to encourage more people to take up an apprenticeship in catering and hospitality and see the possibilities for career progression which await them.

Research shows 92% of companies that have taken on apprentices believe this leads to a more motivated and satisfied workforce; 86% said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation; and 80% have seen a significant increase in employee retention

The estimated yearly gain for employers during an apprenticeship training period is between £2,500 and £18,000 per apprentice during their training period.

Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of IfATE, said: “It’s brilliant that so many people are reaping the benefits of world class apprenticeships, designed by employers. They are popular across the country and with a really good variety of occupations. Demand is in fact outstripping supply for apprenticeship places. What we now need is for many more large and small businesses to invest in training up their workforce by offering apprenticeships.”