Plymouth City Council’s Star Apprentice

The first ever Sports Development apprentice taken on by Plymouth City Council has just been named Apprentice of the Year in the Council’s 2015 Star Awards.

Joining Plymouth City Council in 2014, Ashley Piggott had applied for the apprenticeship vacancy through Skills Group, a locally-based independent training provider.

Ashley, 22 of Devonport, has always been interested in sport, particularly football, and after completing his GCSEs started working for Granby Island Community Centre in Devonport as a Recreational Assistant. However, the pay was not very good so he found work as a taxi operator. When he saw the Sports Development opportunity advertised he jumped at the chance.

Skills Group Training Coordinator, Anna Harvey, put Ashley forward for the role at the Council. She said: “All employers are looking for the best candidates to bring innovation and new ideas to their organisation. From the moment I met Ashley he showed a real determination to succeed and a drive to learn new skills. His desire and willingness to improve have helped him to stand out from the crowd.”

Plymouth City Council’s Sports Development Manager, Louise Kelley, who is Ashley’s supervisor, said: “Over the last year Ashley has been involved in the planning, promotion and delivery of a number of projects, including the Plymouth Games rounders event, Ping! Plymouth – a mass participation table tennis programme – and a weekly multi-sports session at the Devonport Adi-zone for young people aged eight to twelve years. Whilst working on these projects I have seen Ashley develop as an employee and grow in confidence.

“The whole team are really proud of Ashley and what he has achieved. We are lucky to have such an enthusiastic, hardworking apprentice who is definitely a STAR in our eyes!”

The intermediate apprenticeship programme requires Ashley to complete a number of assessments while also fulfilling the responsibilities of a full-time job. Skills Group Assessor, Dave Shurmer, who has seen Ashley grow into his role and take on more responsibility, said: “In any job it can be hard to juggle the day job with studying for a qualification. Ashley has made this look easy as he applies a positive can-do attitude to every task he is given.

“Ashley recently participated in a Skills Group coaching assessment day at Plymouth School of Creative Arts. He demonstrated some exceptional coaching practise and is already using this in the local community with a number of activities that are designed to increase participation in sport.”

After completing the Intermediate apprenticeship (Level 2), Ashley hopes to progress on to the Advanced apprenticeship (Level 3), and continue to work as part of the City Council’s Sports Development team, encouraging local residents to join in with the sporting opportunities available and even to try something new.

Skills Group delivers apprenticeships in business administration, care and childcare, construction, engineering and automotive, hairdressing, sport and leisure, and teaching and education. In addition, Skills Group offers full-time programmes, designed to prepare young people for employment. The training provider currently has over 180 vacancies across Devon and Cornwall, which can be seen on its dedicated recruitment website,


Photo: Plymouth City Council’s 2015 Star Awards Apprentice of the Year, Ashley Piggott, with Victoria Hutchins, Amey’s Watchman-in- Chief.

About Us

Skills Group has over 20 years’ experience in delivering apprenticeships, working with top local employers to offer sustainable employment opportunities. We are one of the country's largest independent training providers, one of very few to be recognised as 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, and in the top 5% nationally for our apprentice success rates.


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