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Leek School Springs Forward with BLC Apprentices

Louise Smith, Federation Business Manager, at Springfield School had struggled to recruit the right skill-set for a number of roles, so she turned to Buxton & Leek College to see if their Apprenticeships team could help.  

 Eight apprentices later (all of whom still work within the Manor Hall Academy Trust), and Louise can’t imagine school life without them, she says:

Louise Smith, Federation Business Manager, at Springfield School

“I spoke to Tom Malpass, the Business Development Manager at Buxton & Leek College and from that first contact we’ve grown a partnership that has had such a positive impact on the school, as well as the trust.”

One of the apprentices, Dani Norris, a working Mum from Leek, was formally employed in retail but had no real passion for her job and during the covid lockdowns reassessed what she wanted to do. Looking around at different options, an apprenticeship stood out. Although she would need to take a pay cut, she knew it would be a temporary inconvenience to achieve a long-term goal. 

 Speaking about her experience, she said: “starting an apprenticeship at 34-years-old was a daunting prospect but I am so glad I took the chance. Knowing there was a role at the end of the apprenticeship was a big plus for me.

“I never would have considered a career in SEN education before, but now I can’t imagine working in mainstream education – I love what I do, and every day is different.” 

Dani was 34 when she started her apprenticeship.

Dani hasn’t stopped there, she is currently studying a Foundation Degree in Early Education, with a long-term goal of becoming a Teacher. 

Mairead Kelsey, 20 from Leek, had an experience that although different was no less positive. Straight after leaving school, on the advice of her dad who started out doing an apprenticeship, she accepted a role of Administration Apprentice at Springfield School, Mairead says:  

 “After I completed my Apprenticeship I then enrolled onto the Business & Management Online Degree Apprenticeship with the University of Derby. At 17 this was a big step, but I’d gained so much confidence through my time at Springfield I knew I could do it. I am in my final year of that now. Alongside starting the Degree I have also been promoted to Exams Officer at the school.” 

Mairead Kelsey has now started a degree apprenticeship.

Tom Malpass, Business Development Manager at Buxton & Leek College couldn’t be prouder of the partnership with Springfield School, he says: 

“It’s a real testament to our work with the school just how happy all their apprentices are and that all of them have been offered permanent jobs, promotions and supported with further progression.”  

In separate years, Dani was runner-up, and Mairead won the Buxton & Leek College Apprentice of Year Awards, recognising their hard work and commitment.  

 If you are a local business that is interested in gaining an apprentice or a person looking to find out more about starting an apprenticeship, please contact BLC  to discuss on 0800 074 0099 or email