Twenty Chesterfield development players swapped their football studs for steel-toe caps when they switched places with engineering apprentices from NLT Training Services.
The Big Apprentice Swap, which took place during National Apprenticeship Week (March 9-14), was organised by Brimington-based NLT Training Services, a specialist trainer and provider of apprentices. As part of The Big Apprentice Swap, the Spireites youngsters gained hands-on experience in welding, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering at NLT’s workshop. Whereas, NLT’s apprentices spent the day as footballers, undergoing physical training both in the gym and on the pitch at the Proact Stadium.
Development player Conner White (16), said: “We’re normally training for most of the week so the apprentice swap has been very different from what we’re used to. It’s been great to be able to learn life skills. I’ve even learnt how to fix a plug for the first time!”
Peter Zehdee (17) from Canada, said: “I came over here purely for football but it’s great to be able to take part in something like this to develop our wider life skills and to give us an insight into another career.”
Jordan Ragen (21), a maintenance apprentice at Chesterfield-based engineering company Brettex, said: “I enjoy what I do on my apprenticeship, which involves engineering sewage equipment. I really like that I get to travel a lot as well as work hard. Taking part in the Apprentice Swap has been a real eye-opener into the world of football for me. I’ve always been a CFC supporter and I’m a keen football fan in general so I was thrilled to be able to come and participate.”
Andy Sheppard, chief executive of NLT Training Services said: “The Apprentice Swap has given a fascinating insight into engineering for the future stars of Chesterfield Football Club, whilst our engineering apprentices experienced a day in the life of a football star. It was a great way to promote apprenticeships in our region.”
The event at NLT Training Services was also attended by Chesterfield’s MP Toby Perkins, and The Mayor Cllr Alexis Diouf who were both eager to learn more about the organisation’s apprenticeship offering.
Alexis Diouf, Mayor of Chesterfield said: “I’m glad that we are recognising apprentices more as a region and as a nation now, rather than simply encouraging the university path. Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to gain employment and it’s really encouraging to see organisations like NLT really working with them to make partnerships with local businesses. It’s particularly encouraging for me to see apprenticeships in Chesterfield, especially in manufacturing and engineering as that’s where the town’s heritage lies. NLT’s event has been great for both parties; the engineers and the footballers as it gives them an insight into another role.”
Toby Perkins, Chesterfield MP, said: “Apprenticeships are incredibly important to Chesterfield and to the country, they’re vital to ensure that the next generation of workers have a future. Apprenticeship Swap initiatives like the one held by NLT are great to give the town’s youngsters different eye-opening experiences to help them develop and discover what they want to pursue. It’s also great to see a wide range of equipment here at NLT, it shows that they’re really helping to give young people the best chance in gaining employment through the skills they learn here.”