Canal & River Trust apprentices in the Midlands carrying out environment enhancements on the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal showed off their work to chief executive Richard Parry as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2022.

Richard Parry and apprentices at Bratch Lock 090222
Richard Parry and apprentices at Bratch Lock

With a theme of ‘Build the Future’, this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is closely aligned with the Trust’s duties of caring for the historic waterways for future generations. The waterways and wellbeing charity, which protects and preserves 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales, is committed to apprenticeship schemes and currently has 35 apprentices on board. In addition to environment works, the apprentices are learning the craft of repairing lock gates, carpentry, construction, engineering and team leading skills. A small number are office based, working towards becoming cyber security technicians and producing content.

The canal network has also benefited from the government-funded Kickstart scheme, a programme for young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment. 22 of the charity’s apprentices came from the first wave of kickstarters, and the Trust currently has 23 young people on the second wave across Stalybridge, Nottingham and Wolverhampton.

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Richard Parry, chief executive at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The waterways are navigated by boats in much the same way as they were 200 years ago, whilst today also playing a crucial role in bringing free, accessible blue spaces to local communities. The skills originally used to construct the canals are still in use today, and it’s great to see our apprentices learning their craft alongside some of our experienced colleagues. There are new skills that keep the waterways flowing too, with apprentices involved in office-based roles as well as on the bank.

“It was a pleasure to meet the apprentices at Bratch Locks and I wish them well as they help us build a better future for the waterways and preserve this important part of the nation’s heritage.”

For more about apprentice opportunities at the Trust, please visit:

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