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York College

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12th April 2016

Portakabin lead the way with Apprenticeships

Portakabin, the York based modular and portable building company, has an award-winning apprenticeship scheme, one of which is delivered by York College, which gives young people access to training and knowledge, allowing them to maximise their potential.


In 2015, Portakabin was named York’s Apprenticeship Large Employer of the Year, as well as the Yorkshire & Humberside National Apprenticeship Service Large Employer of the Year. Its success is testament to the positive relationship between the company and York College and regular communication with College tutors, which allows Portakabin to keep track of apprentices’ progress.

Martin Kennedy, Production & Logistics Trainer at Portakabin, was named the City & Guilds Yorkshire & Humberside Apprenticeship Champion of the Year in 2015. As a former apprentice himself, Martin knows how effective they are. He says: “Good apprentices bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the business and help to develop our highly motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. Our Apprenticeship Scheme ensures Portakabin has the continuity of skills needed to keep the business going, as well as keeping up to date with new skills to secure the future of the business.”

Harry Ellis (formerly of Easingwold School) is a joiner with Portakabin, having studied Site Carpentry at York College. Harry works in the company’s Joinery Shop carrying out general bench joinery work, including cabinetry, doorsets and multiple sub assembly work. Demonstrating a comprehensive skill-set and embracing all opportunities presented to him by his employer he was awarded 2015 Portakabin Apprentice of the Year (from the 2012 intake) and was a finalist at the York Apprentice of the Year Awards 2015.

During his training Harry has also produced work in the local community; designing and making a traditional door for St Andrew’s Church in Huntington. He said: “I realised it would be a huge task but I thought it would be a great chance to put into practice some of the skills I had learnt.”

To complete the project, Harry made several site visits to survey the doorframe and discuss designs and materials with the church. He also learned CAD drawing skills to design the door before making and installing the joints, door itself and glazing.

Harry said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the whole project, from learning new skills to enhancing my traditional joinery skills. I was very proud at the end of the project, knowing that this was my finest work while working for Portakabin.”

Harry now wants to mentor other apprentices so that he can pass on everything he learned during his own apprenticeship.

He said: “An apprenticeship gives you skills for life that no one can ever take away from you… and you get paid to do it!”

Related Links

Wood Occupations (Site Joinery and Bench Joinery) Apprenticeship

Construction Department


16th March 2016

Congratulations to York College hairdressing apprentice Hayley Fowler on coming 3rd in the 1st year blow-drying category at the National AHT (Association of Hairdressers & Therapists) competition in Blackpool.

Hayley Fowler 3rd place winner at BlackpoolWEB

Hayley, aged 27, is an apprentice at Evolve Hairdressing in York. Having won first place in the College’s Hair & Beauty competition at York Racecourse, and then second place in the regional round of the AHT competition held at Gateshead, a place at the Blackpool national final was certainly within her reach.

Hayley said: “Having done well in the earlier rounds of the competition I was fired up to compete nationally and I didn’t want to let my tutor or my employer down. I had practiced so much and felt confident to pull it off. I was over the moon to win and I’m totally empowered to carry on with my training to be the best hairdresser I can be.”

As a mother of two young boys, Hayley decided to train as an apprentice hairdresser when her children started school. Having already worked as a receptionist and salon host at Evolve Hairdressing, she was passionate about the salon and its clients. Hayley was delighted when her employer encouraged her to apply for the apprentice hairdresser position, saying: “With the full support of my employer I felt able to take on the apprenticeship training. I attend College one day a week and the rest of the week I work in the salon. I now have a real career to follow and my family are really proud of my achievements.”

Hayley Fowler outside Evolve HairdressingWEB

Linzi Gill, owner at Evolve Hairdressing, Bishopthorpe Road says: “The whole team at Evolve are very proud of Hayley’s achievements at the national competition. The apprenticeship training programme allows Hayley to gain the recognised industry standard certification, as well as ‘in salon’ training, and her portfolio reflects this.”

Related Links


Hair, Beauty & Holistic Therapies


17th August 2015

Many congratulations to York College stonemasonry student Sam Turner on winning the Bronze medal in the Architectural Stonemasonry category at the biggest vocational education and skills excellence event in the world, WorldSkills 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Sam TurnerwinsBronzeWorldSkills2015WEB

Over the four day competition in Brazil Sam worked tirelessly for 22 hours to complete a piece of stonemasonry, including making the templates, working the stone and completing lettering and carving, to finally be judged third in the world for his excellent stonemasonry skills.

Sam, 20 from Leeds, is an apprentice at York Minster. Having completed his Level 3 NVQ and Diploma in banker masonry at York College he has a further year to complete his apprenticeship. Sam was selected to represent Team UK in Architectural Stonemasonry having excelled in the regional and national rounds of the UKSkills competition. Sam has spent many hours training in preparation for the World Skills 2015 competition under the supervision of UK WorldSkills Trainer Kevin Calpin, a former York College stonemasonry tutor.

Sam TurnerwinsBRONZEWEB

Kevin Clancy, Head of Division for Construction at York College said: “We are so very proud of Sam’s achievements at the WorldSkills competition in Brazil. We have all been following his progress from the very start of his selection to the competition. He has worked tremendously hard in the stonemasonry workshops here at College and in his apprenticeship at York Minster and he thoroughly deserves this accolade. To be selected for WorldSkills is impressive enough and to then come home with a medal is absolutely outstanding. Everyone at York College is delighted for him, he is a fantastic role model for our students. Certainly Sam will be the main topic of conversation when we welcome students to our brand new Construction Skills Centre next month.”

Related Links

Stonemasonry Apprenticeship

Stonemasonry Diploma Level 2

Construction Department

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