Wm Armstrong Case Studies


Wm Armstrong Case Study

Thomas Pattinson left school at 16. Unsure that more classroom learning was right for him, he was delighted to be offered an apprenticeship with Wm Armstrong Group

Thomas really enjoyed his training. At 18, he was already an experienced, qualified fork-lift truck driver, had passed his car/van driving test and was one the youngest people in the country to gain his Category C Driving qualification to drive rigid lorries.

Initially a very quiet and shy young man, Thomas's confidence grew rapidly along with his skills. Compared to his peers, he felt he had a more responsible job, and was envied by his friends because he passed his driving test without cost and earned a good wage.

"They think it's unreal," he said at the time, "because I have my own car already and get to travel around, and my wages go up as I progress with the company. When I'm fully qualified I will be earning between 20,000 and 24,000 per year - not bad for someone under 20!"

"I really like learning on the job," Thomas said. "You gain a lot from being with the other drivers. I was a bit worried at first about what the classroom side of learning would be like but the NVQs are all about real work and we only attend classes at System Group for 2 half days study each month. Now I've got my portfolio of work which shows exactly what I can do and I have just successfully completed the Foundation stage of the Apprenticeship."

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"Having our own trained assessor on site at the Company has been great," Thomas explained, "because we get assessed as soon as we are ready. Each unit gets signed off in my portfolio, or I get feedback quickly if something isn't right so I can work on it straight away."

Twelve years later, Thomas is still driving for Armstrongs. He has been a fully-trained Livestock Driver for nine years now, and coming from a farming background has been a bonus in terms of animal handling and their well-being.

Getting the Key Skills component right has been important for both System Group and Armstrong's. Initially the teaching material was insufficiently rooted in practical, transport related topics, but after listening to the trainees and working closely with Armstrong's assessor, David Hope, this was rewritten. Now apprentices find it challenging and relevant. Learning from material such as tachographs, maps, fuel records and delivery itineraries, the trainees develop literacy and numeracy skills and sort out real problems and issues.

Armstrongs are also pleased that the Key Skills are rooted in industry practice and see the benefits of enhanced speaking, listening and number skills in drivers' relationships with customers, supervisors and in their teamwork.

"This batch of Apprentices aren't afraid to ask questions or check out details," says David Hope NVQ Assessor "They are better at directions, make fewer errors and communicate well with our customers. They've got loads of confidence in themselves and what they do. It's very heartening to see them develop so quickly and they can actually complete the full programme before they are 19. So it's an effective process all round."

Learning provider recommended by Thomas:

Carlisle Airport Business Park
Cumbria CA6 4NW
Tel : 01228 574010

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