Medway apprentice is at the top of his game


A teenager from Strood has been recognised as one of the country’s most promising apprentices at a national award ceremony.

Callum Barnes, 18, was one of three bright young trainees to scoop an award from the National Construction College last month, which awards the hard work and determination of apprentices across the country.

Callum is a year into his apprenticeship as a floor layer at Strood based firm Oxden Floors, who are the latest in a long line of businesses to benefit from the council’s apprenticeship scheme, which has helped with the cost of his apprenticeship.

The GAPS scheme, which is part funded by the council and European Union, under the Interreg IVA 2 Seas programme, offers businesses £2,000 to help businesses with the wage or training costs of an apprentice.

The council has already committed more than £200,000 to the scheme, which has been running almost a year, and to date, has helped more than 60 businesses take on 90 apprentices.

Managing Director at Oxden Floors, Lee Fox, who has been at the company for 12 years, said: “As a business we’re keen to do more in terms of training and taking on young people and this gave us the chance to take somebody on through an approved scheme where they could gain a qualification.

“Although we were keen to take on an apprentice, the funding was certainly an added incentive and for many businesses that help with training or wage costs is a big help.”

The company employs 10 full time staff and carries out work for commercial and retail spaces across the south east.

Callum spends half of his time based at college and the rest on site with the team learning hands.

“I’m really enjoying the apprenticeship. It’s a great way of learning, with a good company behind you and training at college too” he said.

“I’ve always been into construction industry and doing the apprenticeship means I can put the skills I learn at college to practice straight away and learn hands on with experienced people.”

“Apprentices can bring with them a fresh, youthful energy” added Lee.

“Although to be honest I think Callum’s success in the short space of time he’s been here says it all and is a shining example of exactly how worth while they can be.”

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Economic Growth, Cllr Jane Chitty, said: “Apprenticeships can offer businesses something really special – the opportunity to reap the benefits of having fresh, enthusiastic talent on board and the chance to train staff to their industry standards.

“We’re committed to driving up economic growth here in Medway by supporting businesses and apprentices and making sure they have the tools they need to grow.”

For more information on the GAPs scheme and how it may benefit your business, get in touch by emailing gaps@medway.gov.uk or calling 01634 334348.

Photo details (Left to right):Lee Fox and Callum Barnes

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