This new category for 2019, kindly supported by px group, was established to celebrate and showcase member companies with a strong commitment to employing, nurturing and supporting apprentices. Judges were looking for exemplar employers who showcased not only the measurable benefits that apprentices have provided but the value gained by developing their workforce through apprenticeship schemes, examples of best practice and the support put in place to help the development of apprentices within the workplace.
Cramlington-based Sterling Pharma Solutions are a leading Contract Development Manufacturing Organisation to the Pharmaceutical Industry, supplying Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients globally. They currently employ 30 apprentices across all areas of the business including engineering, manufacturing, science, IT, Warehousing and admin. Apprentices account for 8% of the total workforce, Sterling’s commitment and belief in quality apprenticeships is evident.
For Sterling, apprenticeships are a key part of their long-term strategy to develop and grow the business. Recognising that they needed to plan for a future with an aging workforce they actively implemented a four-year programme across the site in 2014. The outcome of this plan has seen the business go from surviving to growing. Growth has gone from £23m to almost £60m in 2018.
Sterling Pharma have a diverse group of Apprentices making Sterling’s model quite exceptional and unique. By working with four different lead providers and delivering eight different Framework/Standard models they ensure the best quality Apprenticeships are sourced. Sterling work hard to lead the way on the new Industry trailblazers with many learners enrolled on new Apprenticeship delivery models allowing them to tailor training to suit the business needs.
Sterling have invested in training workplace mentors too, developing them through an externally assured Workplace Competence Assessor course to ensure all apprentices are supported to the same standard across all areas of the business. Additionally, Sterling employ an occupational health advisor who is trained as a councillor to support the wellbeing of the apprentices, this practice is mutually beneficial to both the learner and the organisation.
A week-long development programme working in collaboration with the Outward Bounds Trust and lead providers is incorporated into their programme enables apprentices to gain an understanding of their current strengths and identify areas for improvement. Sterling CEO Kevin Cook also engages in this event with the apprentices and demonstrates a real commitment to their development.
Sterling’s apprenticeship programme is an outstanding example and is clearly recognised within the industry by both new industry trailblazers and the apprentices themselves.
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