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Wildanet

An innovative new partnership between Truro and Penwith College and Liskeard-based internet service provider Wildanet has seen the introduction of the South West’s first Telecoms Field Operative Apprenticeship programme, which will train the digital engineers of the future.

“Our business requires some particularly specific skills, and these were not readily available locally, so we had to think really creatively about developing our own academy and engaging with local education providers to start to build programs.”

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Wildanet, a Liskeard-based internet service provider, employs Apprentices in Digital Engineering and in partnership with Truro and Penwith College, has developed the South West’s first Telecoms Field Operative Apprenticeship from the ground up, offering entry-level careers in Cornwall’s fast-growing tech sector.

Apprentices hone their skills at Truro and Penwith College’s new multi-million-pound state-of-the-art STEM and Health Skills Centre in Bodmin, which opened its doors for the first time in September 2023.

The College’s industry expert teaching team provide Apprentices with specialist training that allows them to play a key role in installing the network infrastructure that is vital to Wildanet’s mission to tackle digital inequality and bring fast, reliable internet to homes, businesses and communities throughout the region, while Wildanet has invested heavily in launching its ‘Wildanet Academy’, to nurture these Apprentices to start quality careers.

Ian Carmichael, Head of the Technical Academy at Wildanet, explains; “Currently we are looking to train up the engineers of the future, and that is from start to finish. So that’s brand-new engineers, people who have got no engineering background whatsoever coming in and learning how to do every aspect of the role.”

“With Wildanet implementing its own Academy, it is allowing us to provide a service back into Cornwall. We’re training people within the county to have skills they will be able to develop and progress in the future.”

Julie-Anne Sunderland, Chief People Officer for Wildanet, has been instrumental in establishing the Wildanet Academy and in the development of the Apprenticeship programme.

Julie-Anne said: “As an emerging and strong business in our community, we see ourselves as having a corporate responsibility to be a force for good around opportunities for high quality and meaningful employment and skills training for our local community.

“Our business requires some particularly specific skills, and these were not readily available locally, so we had to think really creatively about developing our own academy and engaging with local education providers to start to build programs.

“We are delighted to be working with Truro and Penwith College, which has been particularly receptive to the idea of what we wanted to build and flexible in how we do that in partnership to develop a high-quality Apprenticeship programme supporting new talent and our highly-skilled existing workforce.”

Paul Green, Deputy Team Leader for Apprenticeships at Truro and Penwith College, adds: “It’s really exciting to be working in partnership with Wildanet and using their expertise, their passion, and their enthusiasm teamed with the colleges experience of Apprenticeships and the support that we can offer Apprentices to deliver an outstanding Apprenticeship experience.”

Wayne, who is part of Wildanet’s current cohort of Apprentices, says; “everyone’s really friendly, everyone is ready to help if you need anything. I’ve learnt a lot already; I’d say to anyone thinking about joining Wildanet or Telecoms to one hundred percent go for it.”

His words are echoed by fellow Apprentice Ellis, who says: “I can’t knock Wildanet. Everyone is there to help you learn and that is pretty much all I can ask for. If you are thinking about a job in Telecoms, or at Wildanet, you won’t regret it.”

To discover the impact apprenticeships could have on your business visit; Apprenticeships – Truro & Penwith College (truro-penwith.ac.uk).

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