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Pendennis launches local volunteer programme for apprentices during COVID-19

Published on: 06 July 2020

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Pendennis is a world-class and award-winning superyacht shipyard based in Falmouth, Cornwall specialising in the build and refit of luxury bespoke motor and sailing yachts over 30m. 
A founding member of the South-West Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, Pendennis Shipyard’s involvement with Apprenticeships started in 1998. The shipyard has been a keen participant in the development & growth of Apprenticeships in the south-west and particularly in Cornwall ever since. Offering a four-year apprenticeship programme with the option to continue to higher level qualifications, Pendennis apprentices train in general engineering practices before specialising in their 2nd year. 
The Pendennis programme endeavours to develop a young person’s wider life-skills by embedding opportunities such as RYA sailing & powerboat qualifications, The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, community work and more recently during the COVID-19 outbreak, volunteering in the local community.  
Pendennis apprentices can be seen every year during National Apprenticeship Week supporting local good causes especially those in and around Falmouth. They adapt their new skills to tasks such as groundworks and gardening projects in schools to doing presentations and talks to local people and potential apprentices with the fourth-year apprentices acting as team leads and project managers. 
In the early stages of COVID-19, Steve Hancock, Pendennis Training Manager, kept in contact with all the apprentice year groups - especially those that had been furloughed - via WhatsApp, primarily because it was quick and easy but also accessible. The primary function was to maintain regular communication and preserve morale, but it also ensured that the apprentices could access the online college systems. 

Steve explained: “As the situation continued, we thought that all forms of engagement would be beneficial and so we proposed local volunteering options to our furloughed apprentices to support that ongoing communication.  It was great to see how readily the apprentices took up the opportunity to volunteer; away from the shipyard some had already been helping out in their local communities.”   
He continued: “Very quickly we got our young people sewing face masks at the yard with a training room converted as a workshop allowing three people at a time to sew, which is always a good life skill for a young person to have! We liaised with Falmouth Town Council to help prepare the area for reopening with town and beach cleans, but also highlighting how our young people wanted to help. We have linked up with local schools - partnering with Falmouth School to produce 3D printed masks as well as helping with work for the local cricket club.”
Steve says, “As a socially responsible industry leader we will continue to support our community, taking a proactive approach with the apprentices very much a part of that process. They know that they are valued and they are continuing to develop new and existing skills which will be transferable within their apprenticeship programmes.”