Jessica Bignell & Maria Gibbs are studying for Higher Apprenticeships as part of G4S FM’s Technical Services team G4S Facilities Management has appointed two Higher Apprentices at its HQ in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Jessica Bignell and Maria Gibbs, who started in January this year, are studying for two-year project management Higher Apprenticeships as part of G4S FM’s Technical Services team. They join more than 70 apprentices across G4S FM gaining experience in various functions including HR, finance, business development, management, business administration, customer service and engineering. A chance to build up practical work experience A Higher Apprenticeship, which can lead to an HND, HNC or Foundation degree, gives young people the chance to build up practical work experience and earn a salary while progressing academically up to higher education level. It offers a different route to traditional university study. G4S FM recruited the Higher Apprentices through QA Apprenticeships, the first apprenticeships provider graded ‘Ofsted Outstanding’ in all areas. In addition to on-the-job training, Bignell and Gibbs have week-long training in London five times a year, and meet with the QA assessor every two months to review their progress with their line manager Chris Devereaux-Little. “We are delighted to be able to offer these roles to young people. Apprenticeships are a great way of improving productivity and profitability, while attracting fresh new talent in the FM sector,” said Devereaux-Little. “Our first two higher apprentices, Jessica and Maria are doing fantastically well and it’s great to see such positive female roles in a male-dominated sector.” Maria Gibbs completed her A Levels and had initially planned to go to university, to continue with business studies. But when she came across the G4S FM scheme she believed it more beneficial, especially as it was the only Level 4 Apprenticeship nearby. “After being offered the role and going through a vetting process, I was immediately given responsibilities and put under a good amount of pressure. I was instantly treated as a work colleague, not as a young apprentice.” Describing herself as a kinetic learner she quickly discovered that the apprenticeship was perfect for her and enjoys showing off her skills and learning new ones. “I am very grateful for the opportunity here, the perks of the job are good and it is a great company to join. I would love to become a project manager here in the future.”The hope for all involved is that the Higher Apprentices will be offered full time positions within the team, once their two years of training is completed. "Apprenticeships are a great way of improving productivity and profitability, while attracting fresh new talent in the FM sector" On completion of the initial week of training Bignell said, “The training immediately helped me to pick up on a lot of terminology that I had heard in the workplace and really understand what it meant. Our manager supports us with our portfolio work and provides us with plenty of practical examples at work, so we understand the theory and the practice.” Bignell believes Higher Apprenticeships are a superior option to going to university. “They give all the learning I need, but with on-site experience and all while earning a wage.” Flexible solutions for safe and secure environments G4S Facilities Management creates flexible solutions to deliver safe and secure environments. It has an annual turnover of around £300 million and employs over 7,200 staff across the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands. G4S FM offers total facilities management, cleaning, catering, security, Hard FM and service desk services to contracts within the commercial, healthcare, education, and central government sectors. Customers include the Met Office, Rio Tinto, Aggregate Industries, HMRC and General Dynamics UK.