Celebrating success – Silvalea Ltd our Employer of the Month

Celebrating success – Silvalea Ltd our Employer of the Month

Celebrating success, partnership and professional development in Devon

The talk in the news over the last week has been the government’s target to rapidly increase the number of apprentice’s –  a think tanks claims that this policy risks being ‘poor value for money’…Think Tank reports have focused on increased spending in vocational work based studies and the dilution of training standards and the term ‘apprentice.’ What they haven’t focused on is the current success of work-based schemes and the need for a workplace alternative to higher education.

In one small corner of Devon, a local company Silvalea and training provider Acacia training and development are doing their best to dispel such notions of doom and gloom by celebrating the success of their joint working partnership with modern apprenticeships. Acacia have just awarded Silvalea with a work place of the month for January.

Silvalea currently employs 6 apprentices covering business admin, customer services and marketing. Teri Allerton one of Silvalea’s management team initiated the development of apprenticeships and started working with Acacia in 2014.

“Silvalea is manufacturer of medical devices, our company is known for quality and innovation. It’s a perfect breeding ground for vocational development. We offer apprentices lots of opportunities to develop in a professional environment. We aspire to grow potential captains of industry, to champion and develop those individuals who may not have been able to afford expensive higher education.” Teri added “not all individuals thrive in an academic environment; they want to get into the workplace and they want to achieve. We wish to offer them a career that develops their core skills and we pay them, what better incentive is there to gain professional qualifications at the same time?’ Teri has recruited apprentices for Silvalea through a variety of avenues, including Acacia Apprentice Recruitment Service which helps place the right people in the right placement. Teri explained why finding the right placement is so important for all “Don’t forget we are looking for individuals to take up important positions within our company, we expect them to contribute to our company’s business objectives. The fact that they are also on the apprentice scheme is an aside to their everyday job function, so we need to be 100% confident in our selection process and vice versa. For an individual to grow they need to be in the right environment, it is a mutually collaborative process for us all.”

All Silvalea’s training is government funded and delivered in the workplace which Silvalea supports by providing a designated ‘Apprenticeship Area’ to allow them to complete required assignments and are visited in the workplace by assessors monthly. “We operate a rota system so that all our employees on the scheme can take time from their everyday tasks for at least 2 hours a week to devote to their studies. We are a family run business with family values its great to see people developing, gaining confidence, producing great work, working together as a team and supporting each other. Everyone brings something to the table which helps to further our business goals.”

Rhiannon Oatley, 18 years, the newest Business Administration Apprentice said:

”It is great to work here and to know we produce products which help improve people’s lives. I feel my day to day duties are important to the company and they want us to develop and learn. We can learn at our own pace and have support from Steve, the trainer and Teri.”

“Rhiannon is already proving to be a great asset to the team and has already been completing tasks I wouldn’t normally expect an apprentice to complete this early on in her training – she’s doing really well” confirms Teri.

“The afternoon of the presentation there was a great buzz between the Apprentices, Teri and Acacia staff – it was great to see the working relationship really working for everyone involved.” noticed Sara Cain of Acacia. “it’s important to award companies running workplace schemes as it validates the process and both company and employees get to celebrate their success together.”