National Apprenticeship Week, running from Monday 5 February to Sunday 11 February, is a time of celebration and recognition for the contributions made by apprentices nationwide.
The annual event allows the education and skills sector to recognise the positive influence apprentices have on our communities, businesses, and the wider economy.
ODS, Oxford City Council’s wholly owned service provider, is embracing innovation and inclusivity in their apprenticeship programme, and in this National Apprenticeship Week, they are committed to breaking the mould. Their apprenticeship programme is open to all, and they encourage diversity within their roles, actively encouraging women into traditionally male-dominated trades. What sets their programme apart is their emphasis on willingness to learn and the alignment of apprentices with their core values, rather than strict entry requirements. Applications for the programme open in the summer.
ODS currently employs 14 apprentices, most of whom come from Oxford itself, and whose ages range from 18 to 49. With a commitment to diversity and inclusion, ODS actively encourages applications from individuals of diverse backgrounds and seeks to recruit more women into trade roles to bring fresh talent and ideas into the business.
The ODS apprenticeship scheme offers a dynamic approach to career development, allowing apprentices to engage in real jobs, gain practical work experience, and pursue professional qualifications; all while earning a competitive wage. It offers a variety of career paths, ranging from electricians and gardeners to accountancy and ICT. By providing these opportunities, ODS contributes to Oxford City Council's goal of building an inclusive economy by fostering career development within the local community.
“ODS apprenticeships offer a great opportunity to earn while you learn – they’re a way to get valuable hands-on experience while you study towards an industry-recognised national qualification.
“Anyone looking to take a first step on the career ladder, or maybe take a different direction in their career, should seriously consider what an ODS apprenticeship has to offer. You’ll be part of an organisation that’s doing good for Oxford as well as making sure that you’ve gained the skills and knowledge needed to succeed.
“On an apprenticeship, you're employed to do a paid job while studying for a nationally recognised formal qualification - usually for one day a week at a college, university or at a training centre. By the end of your apprenticeship, you'll have your chosen career.”
Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focused Services and Council Companies.
Meet two of the apprentices
Zoe, our Installation and Maintenance Electrician apprentice, came to ODS from her previous position at a hospital. Through the apprenticeship, Zoe is attending college and gaining valuable trade skills on the job. She works on property rewires, void properties, and communal projects, demonstrating her dedication to learning and growing in a challenging yet supportive environment.
"I've got a daughter, so juggling around work and life is a bit challenging, but my team leaders and everyone are really supportive and help me out, so they've made it possible."
Tyron, a Gas Maintenance apprentice, joined ODS after an eight-year role in the Royal Logistics Core in the Army, seeking a career change. In his apprenticeship, Tyron handles various tasks, from installing and servicing boilers to working on energy-efficient air source heat pumps. He is actively working towards a qualification as a gas engineer, emphasizing the unparalleled training and support he receives from ODS.
"Everything ODS has put me through, the training I’m getting from the guys, on the tools, is second to none."
For more on National Apprenticeship Week 2024, visit the Apprenticeships website.