Maximise Success | Career Progression at Sussex Downs College


Sussex Skills Solutions is a partnership between Sussex Downs College and Sussex Coast College Hastings, providing skills training and apprenticeships across the region. Sussex Skills Solutions lets existing staff maximise their career progression through upskilling, and helps adults of all ages progress in the workplace via their apprenticeship programme. With Sussex Skills Solutions, apprentices come from all backgrounds and starting points.

One of their recent successful Apprenticeship placements include 69-year-old Mark Ellenger from Bexhill-on-Sea. Mark has just completed his Hospitality Services Intermediate Apprenticeship, working for AMEY, the UK-based support service provider. He is a committed learner and a huge inspiration to others.

Mark’s assessor, Beth Funnell, says, “Marks story shows that apprentices aren’t just young adults looking to get into the workplace. Apprenticeships may be suitable for adult learners looking to change profession, upskill or return to work. Mark has been a joy to teach with his positive, can-do attitude. Whereas many adults will probably say they are too old to learn, Mark has proven that this is not the case at all.”

Mark now hopes to progress to Level 3 in the apprenticeship programme with Sussex Skills Solutions.

Another recent success story is that of 21-year-old Asad Ali, from London, who has been shortlisted for the Transport & Logistics award in the Asian Apprenticeship Awards 2017. Asad’s employer, Alex Ward (Regional Manager, Certas Energy), nominated him for the award. 

 “Asad came to Certas for an interview and immediately stood out as an honest and ambitious young man who could, commercially, hugely add to our business,” says Alex. “Asad saw his apprenticeship as the start of a professional journey and has a fantastic open mind to learning.”

In the first six months of his apprenticeship, Asad was learning everything from product details, the machinery and the supply chain process. He also had the academic support of the apprenticeship programme from Sussex Skills Solutions based at the Sussex Downs College campus.

In the latter part of his apprenticeship, Asad introduced multiple new business accounts, placing him in the top 25 employees, in a sales force of 140, in terms of results and portfolio growth. Asad also played a role in allowing Certas Energy to increase its portfolio of vehicles from 22 to 90 in the greater London region.

Towards the end of his apprenticeship, Asad hosted a Ryder Cup Golfing Day for his customer base. Sussex Skills Solutions supported the event and assessed Asad’s behaviour and relationship with his customers, witnessing first-hand the commercial value he brought to the industry.

Within a short time of completing his apprenticeship, Asad was promoted to a Business Account Manager within Certas.

 “Asad has shown that whatever your educational and cultural background, you can cross commercial frontiers with a strong work ethic and a personality that understands the commercial needs of your customer base,” says Alex.

Asad finished secondary school with a D grade in GCSE Maths. He now works in a highly numerical profession where 0.1 pence per litre can make the difference between a company being viable or a company closing down. Through his apprenticeship with Sussex Skills Solutions and learning the Certas way of working, Asad now has the numerical ability any professional would be proud of.

The apprenticeship opportunity has also equipped Asad with life skills, including learning to drive. He is now helping Certas Energy to develop the next generation of apprentices.

Alex concludes, “Asad is very deserving of this award. He is a credit to the fuel industry, an ambassador to Certas Energy and demonstrates the educational value that Sussex Skills Solutions can bring to the workplace.” The Asian Apprenticeship Awards take place in Birmingham in November 2017.

Asad and Mark’s stories are just two samples of how Sussex Downs College is working with employers and individuals to maximise career progression and success. To see how they can help you, contact Katie Parris, Employer and Recruitment Advisor on 030 300 39871. 

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