Championing Apprenticeships since 2012

UK Manufacturer ASL, located in Lewes, East Sussex has been recruiting apprentices since early 2012 via the UK Apprenticeship Service. Working with local training provider Sigta Training, ASL currently employs three apprentices, across engineering and business administration, at ASL’s head office in Lewes.

An apprenticeship is a genuine job combining practical training whilst working with study. Apprenticeships can run for up to four years and include on the job and off the job training and are available at Intermediate, Advanced, Higher and Degree levels. Apprenticeships are available in a very wide variety of subjects including electronics, mechanical engineering, building services, welding and fabrication, electrical engineering, sheet metal work, plant maintenance, business administration and many more.

A full list of available apprenticeships can be found on the GOV.UK website. At any one time, there are between twelve and twenty thousand apprenticeship vacancies online. Applicants can search the GOV.UK website using keywords to find the apprenticeship they are looking for.

Once accepted for a position, a training provider, Sigta Training in the example of ASL, has a key role to play in providing off-the-job training, assessing progress towards achieving qualification and providing support during an apprenticeship.

Annette Brown, HR for ASL comments,

“We currently have five apprentices within the team at ASL. Apprentices have to work hard to succeed, juggling their studies whilst working, and they have to produce a portfolio of evidence to support their learning”.

“There is no guarantee that apprentices will be offered full-time employment once they complete their apprenticeship but I am happy to report that Sigta Training has been an excellent apprenticeship partner to work with and since we started working with Sigta, all ASL apprentices have been offered full-time employment with the company”.

Jason Dann, Technical Project Manager

Jason Dann completed his CAD apprenticeship with ASL and Sigta four years ago and is now employed in the role of Technical Project Manager for ASL. Gemma Eastwood, employed in a Sales Support role with the company, completed her business and administration apprenticeship earlier this year. Gemma now assists with training ASL’s newest apprentice, Emily Bonner, who is employed in Gemma’s previous receptionist roles and general administration duties.

Jason Dann comments,

“The best thing to come out of my apprenticeship with ASL is an actual job. By the end of the apprenticeship, you realise how valuable you are to the company and how much they appreciate your skillset. Companies don’t want to lose you, good companies like ASL value apprentices”.

“I enrolled for an apprenticeship rather than going to college or university because of the experience I would be offered and I wanted to be earning an income at the same time. Most of the companies I speak to value apprenticeships above purely academic qualifications gained at college. I know a lot of people in this industry and they actually prefer people to come up through a training scheme rather than through university. You definitely gain a lot of knowledge and hands-on experience working within a company in the industry”, continues Dann.

“I currently run project management for a rail network, where we are removing old public address systems and installing new ones in more than one hundred train stations. ASL has been very good to me, I informed the company that I wanted to be managing projects and they drafted a route for me to get there and gain all this experience”, states Dann.

“One of the things I have enjoyed the most is gaining knowledge and experience from senior people within the company. I started in 2D then 3D design and was trained in test, build, manufacturing, software and firmware to gain the relevant experience to get where I wanted to be”.

David Worth, Engineering Apprentice

David Worth, employed as an Engineering Apprentice in the Qualification Team at  ASL is midway through his apprenticeship. Having started in April 2016 he will conclude his apprenticeship in November 2019. He began his apprenticeship with ASL working as a CAD engineer studying in Electrical Engineering. He hopes to achieve an Advanced / Level 3 Diploma and will spend his final year amassing evidence and experience to meet his qualification.

David Worth comments,

“My apprenticeship with ASL has allowed me to develop my skillset and I now carry out lots of test work for equipment before it is despatched to site. I started at the age of twenty-two after leaving college with my A-levels and taking a few jobs in retail before deciding what I wanted to do”, continues Worth.

“The company has been really important in helping me achieve my development and growth objectives and provides lots of opportunities for me to stretch my legs in my role, particularly if I compare my experiences with those offered to my peers completing apprenticeships in other companies”.


Sigta Training

David Underwood, Sigta Training, picks up the story, “We have a great track record matching apprentices with high-quality companies offering apprenticeships in a wide range of engineering, manufacturing and business administration courses”.

“We choose to work with excellent companies willing to engage in real career development and opportunities for young people. We provide access to careers for young people and allow them to develop skill sets that cause them to progress within the companies they are working for”.

“We visit apprentices regularly during their apprenticeship to monitor, review and assist their development and ensure they are being treated well and remunerated accordingly”, adds Underwood.

“We also work very hard locally and national to encourage young people to get on board with apprenticeships, visiting lots of schools, colleges and local events to promote the wide variety of apprenticeships available with Sigta Training. I’ve lost count of the number of company CEO’s, directors etc that I meet later in their life who tell me they started their careers with a Sigta apprenticeship”.

Apprenticeships are returning to favour, certainly as far as the apprentices at ASL are concerned. It appears this is an increasing trend with younger people as they recognise they can access careers of their choosing whilst potentially ‘earning and learning’ at the same time.  The apprentices at ASL are very optimistic about their futures.

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