National Apprenticeship Week: a spotlight on some of Rochdale Training's standout apprentices

Date published: 08 February 2024

To mark National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 February), Rochdale Training has shone a spotlight on some of its standout apprentices: Ellie Burke, Jessica Ingham and Harvey Walsh.

Ellie works at Gateway Leisure supporting people with learning disabilities and making positive changes to young adults with mental and physical health needs. She is currently working towards the lead adult care worker apprenticeship with Rochdale Training.

In a recent interview, Ellie said: “I have learnt so much, especially from my colleagues who have been supportive at every stage.

“I find the job rewarding every day, seeing service users smiling is what makes the job worthwhile. I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship because it will help you learn new skills as I did and give you more support on the right path to your future.”

Rochdale Training tutor, Roxanne Sharpe said: “Ellie is one of the best apprentices I have ever met.

“Ellie has been on a tough journey over the previous 12 months and was introduced to us by the Youth Hub having completed a 12-week course with the Prince’s Trust team in Rochdale.

“She has been determined to progress and is focused on the future and a career path to help others in the health and social sector. Ellie is the future of this business and sector.

“Ellie is progressing rapidly through the health and social care apprenticeship and is often ahead of her peers, meeting deadlines and producing high-quality assignments for her apprenticeship. She attends all off-the-job training and records and measures her performance against the key criteria of the apprenticeship.

“She has remained consistently inquisitive and is not afraid to challenge something or make suggestions to improve something.”


Ellie Burke was named the apprentice of the year
Ellie Burke was named the apprentice of the year


In November, Ellie won the Apprentice of the Year 2023 Award at the Rochdale Business Awards.

Of this, she said: “When I won apprentice of the year, I couldn’t believe it.

“I am very grateful for this award and it’s all thanks to the people who believed that I could do it.”

Jessica is an apprentice engineer with PAR Group Ltd in Heywood, which makes different engineering components for companies worldwide. Before starting her level 2 engineering operative apprenticeship with Rochdale Training in September 2022, she was studying travel and tourism at college.


Jessica Ingham
Jessica Ingham


Jessica said: “I decided that I wanted a change in my career prospects as I wanted something more practical that I could really get stuck into. I also wanted to develop my skills whilst being paid.

“I have a lot of family members that are in different engineering trades and I feel that it is a career that I will be able to stay in and progress in for the long-term future.

“I chose to do my apprenticeship with PAR Group because I had heard about their great reputation and I felt as though it would be a great place to start my engineering journey.

“I never feel like I am out of place or that it is a male-dominated industry as there are other female learners with me and all of the male learners are welcoming and have never made me feel uncomfortable or that I’m any different.

“I would recommend engineering to other females as you will never feel out of place and earn a higher-than-average salary whilst learning new skills.”

Harvey is a support officer with Rochdale Council, having started with Rochdale Training on the Future Apprenticeship Foundation in February 2023.

The course supported him in getting ready for an apprenticeship while allowing him to gain valuable work experience in a sector he’s interested in, while also improving his employability skills, English and maths.

Harvey developed his skills and confidence after a short period and started his work placement with Rochdale Council in the work and skills team.


Harvey Walsh
Harvey Walsh


His placement employer, Amanda Huntbach from Rochdale Council, said: “Harvey is a wonderful young man and has a bright future ahead of him.

“He is always on time, normally early, very reliable and able to follow instructions and undertake tasks with little supervision. He has excellent computer skills, is organised, and can prioritise.

“He looks very professional and comes across in a polite and professional manner.”

Harvey said: “It was a brilliant course. The experience confirmed this was the sector for me and I was eager to apply for administration positions after my work placement.

“The support from the tutors and the staff is outstanding, everyone at Rochdale Training creates a safe and friendly environment, and I am really comfortable here.

“I have now progressed on to a level 3 business administration apprenticeship with Rochdale Training and work as a technical support officer in the revenue and benefits department of Rochdale Borough Council.

“Being on the Future Apprenticeship Foundation not only allowed me to develop workplace skills but also life skills. I would recommend this course to others who need support and struggling to figure out what to do in life.”

Habiba Khatoon, work experience co-ordinator from Rochdale Council, said: “We are pleased we have been able to accommodate the work placement.

“Harvey was able to spend time working within our organisation before applying for an apprenticeship role with us.”

If you are looking to start your apprenticeship journey, please visit: for vacancies or contact recruitment lead Nathan Finn at 01706 631417 or

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