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Serco pledges to have 1,000 apprentices by end of the year

Date: 15 Mar 2016

Serco has today pledged to have 1,000 employees undertaking apprenticeships in the UK by the end of the year, an increase of over 33% on existing numbers. The company has made this pledge in support of National Apprenticeship Week 2016 (14-18 March).

As part of this commitment, the company is also recruiting two new Chartered Manager Degree Apprentices (CDMA) in Enterprise Architecture. During 2015 Serco led a group of 40 employers and universities to develop the standards for this new degree level apprenticeship in management, in conjunction with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The two new Degree Apprentices in Enterprise Architecture will learn how to design and develop organisation shapes and structures and explore how different organisations cooperate with each other for different projects, while also developing their project and people management skills.  Their first assignment will be to work on a research project looking at more efficient, joined up delivery of public services through multi-agency collaboration.

Separately, nine existing apprentices from across the business will this week be job shadowing a member of Serco’s Executive team - including Group Chief Executive Rupert Soames - to broaden their knowledge of the business and gain a unique insight into what it’s like to run a large, multinational business.

These apprentices are currently taking part in the South West regional heats of the 2016 Brathay Apprentice Challenge. In their bid to become the national apprentice team of the year, the nine-strong team must undertake a range of activities to engage with young people and businesses in the community and promote the benefits and value of apprenticeships. Some of their stories are shared in the case studies below.

Serco is one of the UK’s Top 100 employers of apprentices and currently supports around 750 apprentices in our UK business and a further 600 apprentices externally through a direct contract with the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

Apprentices are recruited and trained via the company’s central Vocational Services team, a registered training organisation which has recently been awarded a “Good” rating by Ofsted in October 2015. The team was first established in 2002 so that Serco could train its own aircraft engineers due to a national skills shortage. It has since expanded its remit and curriculum to deliver over 25 different apprenticeships, as well as other work-based training programmes relating to more than 200 job roles across a range of different sectors from Custodial Care, Fitness and Leisure through to Facilities Management and Aeronautical Engineering - reflecting the breadth of services that Serco provides.

Liz Benison, Chief Executive of Serco’s Local & Regional Government division said: "Serco is proud to support National Apprenticeship Week and make a pledge to boost the number of apprentices within our UK business. I strongly believe in apprenticeships as a way of building the skills of existing and potential employees. We have attracted some hugely talented young people into the company through our apprenticeship programme and they are having a positive impact on the business, but we want even more recruits with the energy, enthusiasm and commitment needed to help us manage important public services.”

Details of Serco’s current apprenticeship vacancies, can be found on the National Apprenticeship website.


Charlotte Penny, Serco HR Talent Coordinator, Hook

Charlotte Penny, aged 20, from Farnborough, joined Serco in 2013 as a Business & Administration Apprentice (City & Guilds Level 3). In September 2014, after completing her apprenticeship, Charlotte was offered a permanent role within the company’s HR team. She went onto achieve a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Level 5 Diploma in HR Management while working full time and is now Serco’s HR Talent Coordinator based at the company’s head office in Hook, Hampshire. In this role, she coordinates Serco’s Talent Programmes across the UK including organising assessment centres and running the application process.

Charlotte said: “I’m so glad that I didn’t follow the advice of my college or ‘follow the crowd’ by going to Uni. I feel so many of my friends have gone to university because it’s the path that you are expected to take. I was made to feel less intelligent and academic because that wasn’t my choice. Yet, I have had so many amazing experiences here, attended lots of training course, gained my apprenticeship qualification, as well as HR Diploma. I have also gained something you can’t get at Uni – workplace experience and skills such as how to liaise with senior colleagues. I am excited to see how my Serco career continues and develops in the future. I love the fact that even though I have now completed my apprenticeship, Serco are still very keen for me to keep experiencing new things.”

Oliver Bodenham, Electrical/Electronic Advanced Engineering apprentice, Waterlooville

Oliver Bodenham is in the second year of his Electrical/Electronic Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship with Serco’s defence team based at Waterlooville in Hampshire. Here, he is developing software and hardware for a number of land and air projects for the military. 

During Apprenticeship Week 2016, Oliver - who is also an Army Reservist with 128 Field Company, part of 103 battalion REME - will be job shadowing Serco’s Chief Executive, Rupert Soames.

Oliver said: “I decided to join Serco as they are very keen to develop people, supportive of my reservist commitments, and the project based work at Waterlooville also means every week is different.”

Oliver is also part of the team of young apprentices undertaking the Brathay Challenge and commented: “I will be making an effort to engage with different employers and young people to share our good experiences of apprenticeships through various school visits, networking events and a community project”.

Reece Jefferson, Business Administration apprentice, Newcastle

17 year-old Reece Jefferson from Stanley in County Durham joined Serco straight from school and is currently undertaking an apprenticeship in Business Administration (Level 2 NVQ) at the National Contact Centre in Newcastle.

The National Contact Centre provides the government funded helplines for both the National Careers Service and National Apprenticeship Service and Serco has managed this service since February 2015.

Reece is responsible for a range of administration tasks, such creating excel documents, and recently created a new process for collating all the monthly feedback that Serco receives regarding its service and advisers.

“I decided to take an apprenticeship to gain on the job work experience – as well as earn some money. I also believed that if I got my foot in the door with a good company there would be a great chance of building a solid, long-term career within the business”, said Reece.

“When I saw the role advertised at Serco I knew straight away I wanted it. I researched the company and it looked really good with plenty of room for progression”, he added.

Claire Taylor, Service Delivery Manager said:  “Reece is a really keen, hard-working and enthusiastic member of our team who has made an impact very quickly.  He’s very popular with all his colleagues and we’re looking forward to watching his role develop in the coming months”.

Robbie James, Assistant Project Manager, Peterborough City Council / Serco Strategic Partnership

Robbie James joined Serco as a 16-year-old apprentice studying Business Administration. He was originally part of Anglia Support Partnership team, which sees Serco provide administrative support services to the NHS, but has since progressed within the business having successfully completing his Level 2 and 3 qualifications. 

Robbie, who is fast approaching his 21st birthday, has recently been promoted to Assistant Project Manager within Serco’s Peterborough City Council Strategic Partnership team. He is currently project managing the implementation of a cloud storage system and supporting other important transformation projects, as well as studying for a full BA Hons in Business Management via the Open University.

During his apprenticeship, Robbie completed a range of qualifications. He attended Huntingdon Regional College in the evenings after work to complete his Certificate in First Line Management (CMI level 3) and gained an A-level in Business Studies, a self-funded and distance learning course. Robbie won a Serco Divisional Pulse award for his Commitment after being nominated by his Contract Director. He was also named Apprentice of the Year by Huntingdon Regional College.

Robbie said: “Leaving school after GCSEs and not progressing onto A-levels and the traditional full time degree was a brave move for me. I was academic and still wanted a degree, but the work experience and having a father who gained his degree’s through work was more enticing, so I took the leap. Getting into work early, earning a wage and gaining qualifications was the perfect combination.”


Notes to editors

  1. National Apprenticeship Week is coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to celebrate Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. For further information: www.apprenticeships.org.uk


For further information, or to speak to any of Serco’s apprentices, please contact:

Tracey Cobbett on (e) tracey.cobbett@serco.com or (m) 07590 779327

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Last Updated: 15 Mar 2016