Businesses we work with

Daniela nominated for Higher Level Apprentice Award at the NI Apprenticeships Awards 2022

Daniella came to Belfast from Romania in 2015 to live and work with no knowledge of the English language. She began her career in hospitality and transferred into employment with First Source. She has successfully completed Level 1 Communication whilst participating in the IT Professional Competence apprenticeship. She has had to overcome many barriers; one of the main being language. She has demonstrated a passion for learning and self development. Her love of learning has enabled Daniela to learn a completely new language as well as developing her self confidence and enhancing her employability prospects. Daniella remains focused on her learning, even after long shift work. Her infectious personality shines through. She participates actively in all sessions demonstrating her dedication to excel and to enhance her educational attainment. She ‘goes the extra mile’ in relation to her personal and professional growth. She has adapted effortlessly from face to face to remote delivery during Covid-19. Daniela has undertaken all work presented to her with enthusiasm and willingness completing all work in a timely manner which demonstrates good communication, organisational skills and work ethic. She has succeeded due to her own self motivation and determination.

What benefits are there to the company overall after completing the ApprenticeshipsNI programme?

Her management team have reported increased levels of both personal and team performance since joining the apprenticeship and gaining promotion. She has transferred her newly found skills to create help sheets and training material. The team have been enriched through her support and guidance. The course has made a difference to Daniella both personally and professionally. Her hard work and sheer resilience to succeed has supported her vision of improving her English language and IT skills and becoming a team leader within First Source. Daniela has demonstrated that she distinguishes herself from others and how with perseverance comes high achievement.

Has the training so far been beneficial to the team and the various job roles within First Source

I feel the course has supported Daniela in her personal development within First Source, which in turn has had a huge impact on our business. Daniela has been able to support her team as a great leader and has been instrumental in building and developing the team. She has learned how to communicate in different ways, using Microsoft Office to help land the message she wants to get across. Daniela utilises her new skills in her job role even running her eye over my presentations because her attention to detail is second to none. Daniela has gone from strength to strength. Most recently Daniela has been successful in a seconded role working side by side with our client Now, to help better the customer journey. She would not have had the confidence nor skills to do this role a matter of months ago. To date she has been successful, in gathering data, analysing the data and giving solutions from the data. I have noticed that her confidence is growing the more exposure she gets to new situations. It is a joy to work with Daniela every day, and she is a real asset to our company and team.

Daniella goes the extra mile for everyone she comes across whether customers or colleagues. She is committed to her work e.g. a project or a supportive conversation with a colleague, because she strives to give her best every single day. She gives a ‘grow and a glow’ to staff daily with the support she provides them to develop themselves and her infectious enthusiasm. Her passion for learning is evident in her commitment to the IT course and improving her English. She is an example to other team members that overcoming barriers through continuous learning will provide many opportunities in life.

Watch the Awards Ceremony 

Scott Higginson from 4 Star Pizza shares the benefits of an Apprenticeship

Four Star Pizza


Tell us about the current work that Springvale and 4 star pizza do?

Springvale Learning has built a solid relationship with Four Star through the delivery of the Apprenticeship programmes. From the outset the employer, Scott Higginson, has been keen to put nominated employees through the apprenticeship programme as he has seen the benefits to the business over the years. He has allowed us adequate access to employees at all times, in order to progress their qualification. With recent difficulties brought on by the Covid epidemic he has had to develop more strategies to entice people to come to work for the organisation. He has linked with Springvale and our partner organisation Job Assist to recruit for staff of all levels. We have tailored the qualifications to incorporate more precise training requirements required by the 4 Star chain. These included linking in resources and learning with 4 Star’s own learning platform. This has helped embed learning and training particularly with the induction of new staff.

What benefits are there to the company overall after completing the ApprenticeshipsNI programme?

The Four Star chain see the benefit of not just offering a job role but allowing employees to gain a recognised Level 2 or 3 qualification during their working hours. The chain offers excellent career pathways as well as ongoing training and learning. Scott believes by offering these opportunities he can recruit suitable employees that remain with the company for a longer period of time. All staff that meet eligibility are offered the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship as part of their development. Staff who have already completed the apprenticeship sell the benefits to new staff who can clearly see how this has enabled them to develop their careers with the company. Scott has promoted 3 staff to Store Managers, 3 shift Managers to Assistant Managers, created 5 new shift Manager posts and recruited 6 new trainee shift Managers.

Has the training been beneficial to the team and the various job roles within 4 star pizza?

We have been working with Springvale Learning for over 5 years now. They have helped deliver the relevant level 2 and 3 qualifications in a very professional and committed way. The business, as a whole and the staff involved, have continued to benefit from the programme overall. As part of an all Ireland franchise, it has been important to help develop our staff and ensure we have an ongoing flow of trained personnel to move the business forward. The relevant qualifications are tailored by Springvale Learning to suit our staff and business needs. They are delivered in a very flexible way. Over the period of the last six months, we have been on a rapid recruitment drive to hire staff at all levels to sustain our business requirements. We have therefore combined forces with Springvale Learning to help drive our recruitment programme. This has proved advantageous as newly recruited staff are not only gaining employment but receiving comprehensive training and recognised qualifications thus improving our staff retention rates. We have a hands on approach to training and see staff development as very important to the success of the business . We offer very competitive rates of pay and benefits. We also strive to be flexible with our staff with regards to working patterns and time off. As an expanding business, we strive to develop staff for our future plans. The qualifications offered on the apprenticeship programme are good stepping stones for staff who are moving towards leadership and management roles. It definitely opens opportunities up for all employees. I, myself, started off as a delivery driver and then bought my first franchise over 20 years ago. As a larger franchise organisation there are good career prospects and even possibilities leading to ownership of a franchise unit.


Connect Telecom and Springvale

We asked Sarah, Marketing Manager at Connect Telecom, about her time working with Springvale and contributions made to Connect Telecom as result of the partnership.

Sarah from Connect Telecom

Connect Telecom, Northern Ireland’s only Vodafone Platinum Partner and Vodafone Implementation Partner, established a partnership with Springvale Employment and Learning Solutions in March 2015, and since then, the partnership has grown tremendously whilst assisting Connect Telecom’s continual professional development plan.

We asked Sarah, Marketing Manager at Connect Telecom, about her time working with Springvale and contributions made to Connect Telecom as result of the partnership:

Tell us about the current work that Springvale and Connect Telecom do?

In March 2015, Rebecca from Springvale met with us to discuss our training needs. She thoroughly explained the level of funding and variety of courses that were available to organisations and their employees within the telecoms industry. From this, we decided that it was a no brainer to enrol our staff with Springvale to tie in with our own CPD plans. We currently have 10 staff completing a Business User pathway within the IT/Telecoms Professional NVQ, all fully funded. Some of our employees are completing the qualification at Level 2 and others have progressed to the more technical Level 3.

What benefits are there to the company overall after completing the ApprenticeshipsNI programme?

Connect has a companywide continual professional development plan as well as individual ones for each employee, so the course that we chose has aligned very well with these. Our training has been extremely beneficial and we very quickly could implement our learning into the work place. Everyone we have dealt with, especially Joe McMeekin our trainer, has been extremely helpful and very proactive and flexible around our working day and other commitments.

Has the training so far been beneficial to the team and the various job roles within Connect Telecom

As we are working within the Telecom industry, the Level 2 is very relevant to what we sell (hosted IP systems and cloud solutions). There are also modules based on other products that we sell including Cisco handsets and networking, which all link to the One Net Unified Communications Solution that we provide to our own customers. This qualification has given Connect Telecom extra training and resource to ensure staff can sell and explain the latest technologies to our customers.

Tell us about your experience working with Springvale?

Working with Rebecca and Joe has been an extremely smooth process. Joe is very flexible fitting his teaching around our working day to ensure that we can train at a time that suits us, as well as assisting us on an individual basis.

Would you recommend the course to other Telecom Professionals in industry?

I would absolutely recommend the course to others in the technical industry, especially the second level of the course. The training is excellent and is a great add on to our existing training plans.

We certainly look forward to implementing further training programmes and continuing our partnership with Springvale in the future.


Clanmil Housing’s Apprenticeship Programme

Clanmil introduced their apprenticeship programme as a way of growing talent for the future, as well as giving young people an opportunity to start a career.  From day one, the apprentices begin to learn sector specific skills helping them develop specialist knowledge that will enhance their career opportunities in the future.

Tell us about your experience working with Springvale?

We started our apprenticeship programme in January 2015 and partnered with Springvale Learning.  As training providers, we’ve found Springvale to be professional and friendly. They helped us through each step of the apprenticeship process, from how to recruit for the posts to meeting up with the apprentices to explain the process and enrol them onto the Apprenticeship Framework.

The trainers meet with our apprentices in our office so there’s minimal disruption to our business operations and they’ve built up a wonderful rapport with them.  They’re also always available by phone or email to assist the apprentices through the completion of the learning and development phases.

What benefits are there to the company overall having participated in the ApprenticeshipsNI programme?

In terms of the return on investment, the apprenticeship programme has made a valuable contribution to our business and the apprentices have become integral members of our team, contributing massively to the success of the business.

As a company that is committed to Corporate Social Responsibility and has a strong social ethos, we see our investment in recruiting, training and developing apprentices as a further demonstration of our values.  The business benefits of building a workforce for the future are also important.

Has the training been beneficial to the team and the various job roles within Clanmil?

The training has been very beneficial for Clanmil.  It has provided the apprentices with the skills and knowledge they need to carry out their individual roles.  Alongside the internal training and mentoring carried out by our staff, the training has given the apprentices a real insight into how we work.

The ‘on the job’ training helps the apprentices develop the practical skills our business needs to deliver its mission and strategic objectives while the ‘off the job’ training provided by Springvale Learning helps the apprentices understand the world of work, combining practical skills with theoretical knowledge.

Would you recommend this programme and working with Springvale to other employers?

Clanmil Housing have worked with Springvale Learning since it set up its apprenticeship programme.  They provide excellent training at our offices and feedback progress of our apprentices on a regular basis.  Any support the apprentices need, the trainers always make themselves available and we would rate the service and quality of the training as excellent.

We hope that the apprenticeship programme continues to grow within our business for many years to come and we will continue to develop our working relationship with Springvale Learning when we decide to take on the next apprentice.

I’m An Apprentice – Springvale

Sinead began her Engineering journey with Springvale Learning in 2011. We speak to her about becoming a fully qualified Engineer.

Females in Engineering

When we think of Engineering Apprentices we normally think of a male workforce, however, Springvale Employment and Learning Solutions have seen a steady increase of females within Construction and Engineering vocations and are keen to highlight the exciting opportunities and success of young females within industry, in particular, one of our young apprentices Sinead Boyle.

Sinead, you came to us in 2011 to begin your training as an Engineer, was this the career path you always wanted to follow?

I wanted to do something different and I didn’t want to do beauty or be stuck behind a desk all day. I always looked up to my daddy so I thought about doing something not every other girl would do.

I originally wanted to be a plumber when I was at school then I realised I wouldn’t do well with toilets and engineering was a much cleaner option!!!

Technology was one of the only subject’s I was interested in at school and loved being able to make things and enjoyed the problem-solving element of the subject. Because I loved Technology so much, I started to think more seriously about being an engineer. I found out that it’s very interesting and there are so many different things to do.

How did you hear about Springvale?

I knew a few boys that had signed up to do plumbing, they told me about Springvale so I looked further into the Engineering courses offered.

Woman’s Engineering Society states that the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineers, with only 9% of the engineering workforce being female. How did you feel when you first walked into a male dominated classroom?

On the first day, everything was very over whelming, as I was in class that was made up only of boys and I was just getting used to not being in school so it was very different. As the days went on, I began to feel more and more comfortable and soon being labelled as the ‘only girl’ in the class meant nothing as I was just the same as everyone else, learning all the same things.

You were a full-time student for two years before you gained employment as an apprentice, tell us a bit more about what you learnt and gained in those two years?

I loved coming into Springvale every day and was so lucky to have secured some interesting placements during my time. I worked with Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and managed to get a placement with Gilbert Ash working on the new Rugby stadium on the Ravenhill Road. I won the Engineering Student of the Year in 2012 and was Highly Commended at the NI Essential Skills Awards in 2012 which was held in Hillsborough Castle.

How did you get your Apprenticeship with SIA?

I’m now in my second year of study with SIA and I am enjoying working for them. I stayed in touch with Springvale when I completed my Level 2. Springvale sent my cv across to SIA and they arranged to interview me. After a successful interview, I started working for them and now come to Springvale every Tuesday to complete my Level 3 course.

Would you recommend Springvale? How have they helped you since you left school?

I would definitely recommend Springvale, they have went over and above my expectations of a training centre to help me progress my career to the next level.