YOUNG apprentices from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are planning to restore vandalised allotments as part of a project to promote the apprenticeship scheme.
Lydia Hooley, who was taken on as an apprentice receptionist at the Pirehill, Stone, headquarters of the county fire service in October, will join eight other youngsters from stations across Staffordshire as part of a national challenge to find the UK’s top team of apprentices.
The Brathay Apprentice Challenge involves teams of nine apprentices who have to prove their team-building, leadership and communications abilities through completing work-related tasks which benefit the local community, but which also raise the profile of the apprenticeship system.
“We’ll be visiting local schools and spreading the message about the value of apprenticeships as an alternative to other forms of further education,” said Lydia.
“We’re planning to raise money by doing a car wash at Newcastle fire station. Half the money raised will go to the firefighters charity, but the other half will go towards restoring some vandalised allotments in Newcastle.”
Lydia and her fellow apprentices will also be getting their hands dirty, helping to clear and restore the site.
“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship, and it’s my ambition to get a full-time position here,” said Lydia. “The whole point of this challenge is to make more people aware of the opportunities available through apprenticeships, not just with the fire service, but in other areas too.
"Within the fire service there are many job roles, including fire control, admin, community safety, IT, reception, training and development, motor mechanics and many more apprenticeships."
“It’s great if you want to go to college or university, but there’s a lot to gain from apprenticeships too,” she added.
The team challenges will take place during Apprentice Week, a national event, which runs from March 3-7.