Kickstarting Electrical and Hard Services Careers With OCS Modern Apprenticeships

Mike Stark, Director of Data and Networks, sat down to discuss the benefits of completing an OCS Hard Service Modern Apprenticeship on the SELECT-Trade Association for Electrical Contracting Industry Scotland Podcast.

Our apprentices expand their knowledge through their learning and are supported to start a rewarding career in a variety of specialisms. The apprenticeships encompass a wide range of skill development such as: Electrical, Heating and Ventilation, Data Cabling, Service and Maintenance, and Plumbing, gaining hands on skills in and outside the classroom.

It’s the career, it’s the opportunities it can give you in life. After going through the last 4 years, I can honestly say I enjoy it.


Hard Service Apprentice

In the podcast, Josh share his journeys of completing the four year Electrical Apprenticeship course and explains how he has overcome challenges and ended up enjoying the career path he is on. Mike emphasised our commitment to supporting and nurturing the apprentices careers and how important it is to not discount yourself from a successful career in Hard Services.

Our industry needs electricians. We’re here to support. We want them to be successful. It’s about encouraging them and ensuring they learn.

Mike Stark

Director of Data and Networks

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Apprentice of The Year Awards: Celebrating Excellence and Success

OCS is pleased to announce the conclusion of its third annual Apprentice of The Year award ceremony, held on Wednesday, February 7th, in alignment with the UK’s National Apprenticeship Week. 

The purpose of our annual Apprentice of The Year award is to recognise and commend the dedication of our colleagues and their teams who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to our TRUE Values by actively engaging in upskilling and personal development. It is our privilege to offer the necessary resources and support to enable our colleagues to take significant strides in advancing their careers. Our dedicated Social Mobility team, specialising in tailored pathways for the facilities management industry, collaborates with esteemed partners and industry leaders, ensuring our apprentices receive the best experience. 

Our apprenticeship recognition and awards program features twelve monthly finalists, who have shown exemplary initiative within their programme gaining recognition from their line manager or skills coach as part of the nomination process. The selection process is based on nominees meeting either one or all of the PIBS criteria, namely;  

  • Personal achievement and progression
  • Impact of learning/Return on Investment (ROI) 
  • Behavioural change 
  • Self-management 

This culminates in the selection of an overall annual winner and a runner-up at the Apprentice of The Year ceremony. This year, Khalid Mahmood, an OCS Security Officer at HMCTS, secured the top position, earning a Distinction in his Level 3 training. Michelle Rowe, OCS Production Chef at Desborough College, displayed remarkable achievement as the deserving runner-up, successfully completing her level 2 qualification. 

We also extend our appreciation to our training service partners who have consistently gone beyond to provide our colleagues with exceptional support. In recognition of their outstanding contributions, we are pleased to announce that Mercury Training Services Ltd and GLP Training Ltd have been honoured as our Outstanding Training Providers of the Year. 

We take immense pride in the accomplishments of our apprentices, who consistently navigate the challenges of simultaneous learning and professional responsibilities. Their dedication is commendable, and we remain committed to fostering an environment that encourages continuous growth and development within our workforce. 

National Apprenticeship Week is an opportunity for the education and skills sector to celebrate the achievements of apprentices around the country and the positive impact they make on communities, businesses, and the wider economy.

I am OCS’s Skills Development Manager here at the Department for Education, and it is great to see that positive impact being made through OCS’s apprenticeship programme. Since the pandemic, our focus on employer engagement has shifted slightly, with a greater emphasis on the quality of apprenticeships being delivered, rather than just encouraging more starts, and it is clear OCS’s approach is equally aligned with this.

Bertie Hutchins

Skills Development Manager (South), Department of Education

Dedicating myself to supporting the development of others is a priority for me. Individuals who choose to participate in our programs are expressing a commitment to self-improvement despite their demanding professional obligations. As a company, it is crucial for us to acknowledge and appreciate the effort and sacrifice made by those who embark on this journey of personal development. We take pride in recognising and valuing their commitment.

Tim Bowers

Apprenticeships & Funded Learning Capability Manager

Nurturing Culinary Excellence: Angel Hill’s ‘Culinary Classroom’ Programme

For the Love of Food

At Angel Hill, we know that the heart of exceptional catering lies in the passion and skill of our chefs. That’s why we’ve established the ‘Culinary Classroom,’ an internal chef training program designed to harness and elevate the culinary talents within our ranks.

The Culinary Classroom is a year-long journey that offers chefs from across our organisation the unique opportunity to hone their craft and delve deeper into the intricacies of the culinary world. With a strong focus on essential skills and a deep understanding of our supply chain, this program equips our chefs with the tools they need to excel in the dynamic catering industry.

Module Diversity

The heart of the Culinary Classroom lies in its diverse curriculum. Our chefs embark on a thrilling educational journey that encompasses various facets of their profession:

  • Kitchen Management: Chefs learn the art of efficient kitchen management, ensuring every culinary operation runs smoothly.
  • Seasonality: Understanding the ebb and flow of seasonal ingredients is crucial in crafting menus that showcase the best of each season.
  • Menu Planning: Chefs master the art of menu creation, crafting dishes that delight the palate and meet the highest culinary standards.
  • Practical Cookery Skills: Hands-on training ensures our chefs excel in practical culinary techniques, bringing their creations to life.
Beyond the Kitchen

The Culinary Classroom is more than just classroom learning. It’s an interactive, practical, and enjoyable experience. It encourages our chefs to break away from the routine of their daily tasks and venture out to explore the broader food chain.

Farm Visits: Our chefs first-hand see where our ingredients originate. These visits foster a deep appreciation for the quality and origin of our produce.

Workshops: Specialised workshops led by industry experts expand our chefs’ horizons and expose them to new culinary perspectives.

Trade Shows: The program includes visits to trade shows and culinary events, keeping our chefs up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations in the catering world.

A Path to Leadership

The Culinary Classroom is not just about enhancing skills; it’s also about nurturing leaders. We’re proud that many of our senior chefs have come through the ranks, starting their culinary journey with Angel Hill and rising to lead our ever-growing catering division.

In conclusion, the ‘Culinary Classroom program is a testament to our commitment to culinary excellence and the growth of our talented chefs. Through this initiative, we aim to ensure that every dish we serve reflects our team’s passion, dedication, and expertise. Angel Hill is not just a catering company; it’s a culinary journey filled with love and dedication to the art of food.

“Since its launch in 2015, we’ve had over 60 colleagues progress through their journeys in the class, and it’s been an absolute privilege of mine to mentor and guide our people. Giving our people the opportunity to have new experiences and gain knowledge, skills and confidence in their profession gives me immense pride; it’s a true pleasure to behold each year’s class bond over their shared passion, a love for food.”

“Over the year, our Culinary Classroom has paved the way for our aspiring chefs to achieve their goals and aspirations, taking them to places they never thought possible within the industry. It’s been an absolute privilege to be a part of it; I can’t wait to see and meet the new chefs we take onto the Culinary Classroom in the future.”


Matt Vernon

Executive Development Chef