Delapena and GFirst LEP say Yes to apprenctice schemes

Bradley Claque from Quedgeley was over the moon when Delapena Honing Equipment Ltd in Cheltenham offered him the chance to pursue a dream career in engineering via an apprenticeship with a day release at college.

Having been job seeking for a while, Bradley was desperate to get a lucky employment break and contacted GFirst LEP for help, initially via the Gloucestershire County Council backed employment scheme called ‘Yes 2 Jobs’.

Helping the long term unemployed in Gloucestershire to get jobs is a top priority for the Employment and Skills Team, part of GFirst LEP. Working alongside government bodies, the team based in Twigworth have been offering specialist employment advice to help to successfully support people that have faced issues such as redundancy or long term unemployment.

Even though Bradley can’t drive, his enthusiasm and commitment for an apprenticeship with Delapena meant that he was more than happy to use public transport for the daily commute from Quedgeley to Cheltenham and back.

Bradley Claque, now an apprentice working at innovative engineering company, Delapena, said: “ I’m so relieved and delighted to be offered an apprencticeship with Delapena. I’ve wanted to pursue a career in engineering and this is the perfect combination for me to acquire on-the-job training and skills, as well as a formal engineering qualification at college.”

Extremely impressed with the work of the GFirst LEP team and of Bradley, Andy Rhoden, Continuous Improvement Engineer at Delapena, said: “We didn’t realise just how simple it is to offer an apprenticeship as we thought there would be quite a lot of red tape involved. Knowing just how quick and easy it is to set up, we are now working with GFirst LEP to offer another apprentice the opportunity to start an engineering career with us as our business continues to grow.”

Jason Dunsford, Investment Manager, GFirst LEP said: “This is a remarkable story of helping someone without relevant work experience and offering the opportunity to embark on a career of their choice, plus support for them to achieve a formal qualification. It’s also an excellent example of how we can work together with local employers to help close the skills gap that is widely recognised across the country in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“By liaising with local employers like Delapena, to offer work placements and apprenticeships, local people have the chance to gain vital work experience needed to help secure a permanent position. If there are any employers across the county that would be able to offer apprenticeship schemes, then we would love to hear from them as we can help to set them up and put forward suitable candidates.”

Please contact Diane Dyer at the GFirst LEP Employment and Skills Team on 01452 733502 or email For more information about the Yes 2 Jobs scheme, please visit the website:

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