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Building Futures is “helping me to be more motivated”

24 Aug 2018

How our apprenticeship scheme for existing staff is helping Omar Parkes to advance his culinary career

President Nancy Rothwell meets Omar Parkes and his colleagues

Kitchen assistant Omar Parkes, who has been working at the University for 16 years, is one of 53 existing colleagues who have joined the Building Futures apprenticeship scheme.

Building Futures is an apprenticeship for existing staff, created with our £1.9 million Apprenticeship Levy, part of a government initiative to create an additional 3 million apprenticeships in England by 2020. It currently supports 53 colleagues both professionally and personally by equipping them with additional skills in areas such as IT and business management. It aims to give them the confidence to progress further at work and also help them at home, so they can manage domestic finances or appointments online or help their children with their homework as education becomes increasingly digitised.

At age 35, Omar wants to advance his career and is taking a commis chef course with the aim of eventually opening his own restaurant. He believes the apprenticeship scheme will help him get the qualifications and experience to do this.

Omar’s particular programme combines theory study with practical work, to allow apprentices to gain skills in multiple areas.  Omar has a day each week to focus on the coursework involved in the apprenticeship and the group meets once a month for a workshop.

He believes this is helping him professionally: “It’s giving me a career and helping me to be more motivated.”

He adds: “This is the start of a new beginning for the University and staff to work together and build the University to be the best it can be.”

If you would like to enrol on a Building Futures apprenticeship, please speak to your line manager.

Line managers can get further information on the Building Futures apprenticeships by emailing: