10 February 2011 Kevin Quinn
One of Southwark’s most successful learning providers is helping apprentices obtain their qualifications in record time.
Robust Training obtained a record 98 per cent pass rate in its work-based training courses last year and was granted a contract for more than a thousand students on the government’s Train-to-Gain programme – the third biggest in London.
The Walworth-based company is striving to replicate these achievements by working with local employers to produce fully-trained apprentices, able to offer skills that are increasingly in demand. Unlike further education colleges, Robust Training works at the speed of the individual student.
“It is very rewarding to see how people’s confidence and job satisfaction rise the more they learn and the more skills they master,” says Roger Lynch, Chief Executive of Robust Training and its parent company Ruskin Private Hire.
“Too often our trainees are people who have been failed by the education system. Vocational learning and apprenticeships give them a second chance – and ensure their abilities are not lost to society.”
As one of London’s top training providers, Mr Lynch is urging local employers to enroll qualifying staff as apprentices. “The stereotypes of apprentices are spotty youths straight out of school,” he said. “One of the great advantages of the current programme is the scope for older employees who want to enhance their current skills, gain new ones and obtain recognised qualifications.”
He has recently been elected to the board of the Association of Training Providers, the key organisation for training provision. He finds the work of ALP stimulating and challenging.
“Britain has a huge skills gap with our major international competitors. Acquiring skills must be a priority target. We need skilled people just to replace post-war baby boomers who are about to retire. In some sectors, it is as high as a third over the next seven years.
“Successful apprentices attain NVQ2(intermediate) or NVQ3 (advanced – equivalent to three A levels), and these should ensure them of continuing and well-paid employment.”
Mr Lynch, a former Black Entrepreneur of the Year, says he “has always believed in training since founding Ruskin Private Hire thirteen years ago. I do not regret a penny I have spent in training our people.
“Having qualified and well-trained people on the staff has repaid our investment many times over. When Ruskin Private Hire became the fourth biggest employer in the borough, we started Robust Training to ensure we obtained the same high standards we had set.”
Robust Training is expending into additional premises in its Walworth Road HQ, and is now equipped to handle more learners in more industry sectors. Last year, numbers were fast approaching 2,500.
“The frameworks have been developed by the sector skills bodies to ensure they gain the skills employers need, rather than what colleges want to teach them.
Robust has helped thousands over the last three years and look forward to beating our own 98 per cent target by turning today’s apprentices into skilled workers able to take on the best in the world, working with Southwark employers.”
More information on how Robust training can get people trained for jobs in your company contact Kevin Taylor on
0845 5555 444 or 020 7703 4045.
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