Minister of State for Skills Nick Boles MP visited the Eden Project today (Thursday March 17) to meet the Cornish attraction’s group of rising stars as part of National Apprenticeship Week.
The Minister met Principal and CEO of The Cornwall College Group Amarjit Basi, Eden Managing Director Gordon Seabright and Learning and Development Specialist Jed Langdon as well as apprentices from across a variety of areas of the project.
He helped the apprentices plant chillies and sugar cane in Eden’s Rainforest Biome and posed with the “Pass the Torch” Olympic-style torch, which symbolises the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next.
The visit co-incided with the 15th anniversary of the full opening of the Eden Project.
Mr Boles said: “Apprenticeships at the Eden Project show how apprenticeships can take you anywhere – into any industry, any job, and up to any level.
“I hope even more people will be inspired throughout National Apprenticeship Week to become part of our commitment for three million apprenticeships by 2020.”
Gordon Seabright said: “Today’s visit was a good opportunity to show the Minister that apprenticeships are a hugely important part of what we do at Eden and in Cornwall. We are an educational charity and we take very seriously our role in bringing along the next generation of young people.”
He added: “Eden is signed up to the Five Per Cent club. This means in effect that we are committed to developing apprentices each year over the next five years and that apprentices will make up at least five per cent of the team here.”
As part of its award-winning apprenticeship programme, Eden currently employs 27 across 12 different teams – horticulture, chefs, hospitality, retail, narrators, human resources, media, graphics, finance, facilities, events and marketing.
Mr Boles saw first-hand the apprentices’ Plant to Plate project where they are challenged to work together to create a product in keeping with Eden’s sustainable ethos that they can grow, cook, brand, package and sell in Eden’s shop.
The theme of National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Rise to the Top!’ – showing how individuals and businesses can achieve their ambitions of progressing through apprenticeships.
It is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
Eden’s apprenticeship scheme is run in partnership with Cornwall College Group.