Inspired by his travels and love of cooking, Charlie Bigham set up shop in 1996 with the sole aim of creating delicious dishes. Twenty-five years later Bigham’s is now the number one brand in the chilled pre-prepared meal category with over 50 dishes available in major supermarkets. We have achieved year-on-year growth and continue to grow in a sustainable way, also attaining B-Corp status because it’s the right thing to do for our business, for our consumers, and for the planet.

Having achieved ‘Great Places to Work’ Certification, we are officially recognised as one of the UK’s Best Large Workplaces and now employ over 600 people across two thriving kitchens in London and Somerset. We look at apprenticeships not as a qualification, but instead as driving and enabling our next generation specialist workforce, equipped with the relevant skills, qualifications, attributes and behaviours that will build towards a successful career with us.

Being a part of SWAAN has been a revolution in networking best practice with apprenticeships, it has offered the opportunity through meetings, forums and conferences for industries to come together for the same goal – our apprentices.

We are a small firm of solicitors that has been established in the Wells and Frome area for over 100 years. We provide legal support in most areas of law and have eight partners who have been with the firm for some time. We like to support staff to be the best they can and to encourage them to grow within the firm.

The apprenticeship system has been a great support for us as it has meant that we can start to develop and grow our IT department and have an apprentice come in and learn our business from scratch whilst providing much needed support to our IT Manager and staff.

I am new to SWAAN and very much looking forward to the benefits of being part of the network.

The first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in over 20 years; Hinkley Point C in Somerset will provide low-carbon electricity for around 6 million homes, create thousands of jobs, and bring lasting benefits to the UK economy. It is more than just a construction project; it is a unique opportunity to grow and develop people’s skills and longer-term careers. We’re building upon our contribution to the Country’s move to net zero and supporting people and businesses across the Southwest region and beyond.

We are proud to say we have already supported the development of over 750 apprentices and have an ambition to create at least 1000 new apprentices across the duration of the build. Our apprentice schemes vary across all sectors and include a mixture ranging from L2-L6 including Project Controls, Nuclear Engineers, Steel fixers and Customer Services. Apprenticeships are such a great way to learn whilst you earn, and really are suitable for all ages.

Being part of the SWAAN network offers a unique chance to be around likeminded people, who share a passion for apprenticeships. Sharing best practice and advice amongst each other is an invaluable experience and I would recommend anyone who is thinking of becoming an apprenticeship employer ambassador to join without hesitation.

In the UK, Leonardo is the second biggest supplier of defence equipment to the Ministry of Defence. With over 7,500 employees, we contribute £1.9 billion to the economy annually, supporting more than 26,000 British jobs.

We are a large employer of engineering, business and cyber apprentices in the UK, with over 400 graduates and apprentices in training at different facilities across the country. Many of the company’s senior leaders began their careers as apprentices, and a significant number of apprentices go on to undertake degrees and achieve graduate status.

Since joining the SWANN, I have had the opportunity to attend events with other organisations across the South West. These events share apprenticeship information, experiences and benchmarking, and will enable my team and myself to make educated improvements to the apprenticeship experience at Leonardo.

Home of the Henry vacuum cleaner, Numatic International are independently rated the UK’s most reliable vacuum brand. From cordless solutions to janitorial systems and floorcare equipment, Numatic delivers professional, practical and reliable equipment, designed, engineered and made right here in the UK, in Chard, Somerset

We celebrate apprentices at Numatic and year on year, employ apprentices in various departments, from HR, IT, Marketing, Engineering, Sales, Customer Services, Fabrication and Manufacturing, the list goes on! They are a fantastic opportunity to learn practical skills as well as the academic content and get paid whilst you complete the learning

Being a part of SWANN has opened my eyes to the breadth of contacts across the south west that can support each other to grow young professionals for the future in our area. They have been a great help in looking at various options from suppliers to delivery options and I will continue to work with them to grow talent in the south west.

At Old Mill, we are financial experts working at the cutting edge of Accounting and Wealth Management, across a wide range of sectors, with a broad client portfolio, a diverse mix of individuals and a commitment to nurturing and celebrating our talent in the business.

The key to providing our clients with outstanding service is to recruit and retain fantastic people with the same energy and ambition and our Apprenticeships scheme helps us immensely with this.  Our trainees represent the future of Old Mill, which is why we are delighted to support the Apprenticeships scheme, and be part of the Ambassador Network.  At any point in time up to one third of our employees are working towards a professional qualification, with our Apprentices making up a significant part of this number. 

Somerset Care is one of the major care providers in Southern England and one of the largest not-for-profit care companies in the UK. We have 27 care homes across the south of England and also offer a range of care and support services to help customers remain independent in their own homes.

We fully believe in apprenticeships and the benefits they bring; so much so, that we have created a job role just to promote and manage the apprenticeship side.  We are proud to be a SWAAN Ambassador and having apprentices in our business allows us to continue to grow and develop talent into the skilled and qualified workforce of tomorrow.

At Somerset County Council, we employ over 3,000 staff and we have a strong apprenticeships culture with all service areas currently employing apprentices.

Through robust succession planning and analysis of workforce data, apprentices are recruited not just with the present, but also with the future in mind. We are also committed to providing opportunities to apprentices to complement and enrich their qualifications, and recently signed an ‘Apprenticeship Charter’ issued by UNISON to showcase our commitment and pledge to fair and equal apprenticeships.

As part of the Apprenticeships Ambassador Network, SWAAN, we appreciate working with like minded employers to promote apprenticeships across the South West.

South Somerset District Council is responsible for providing a wide range of services to the population of South Somerset. As an organisation we focus on learning and development to help us match our skills to the needs of our customers and communities.

We want learning to be embedded into our work on a daily basis and apprenticeships are the perfect way to do so. Apprenticeships enable people at all levels and ages to reach their full potential. Thanks to the flexibility and variety of apprenticeships, our apprentices work in a range of different areas (e.g. accounting, hospitality, horticulture and management) and are at different stages in their career.

Apprenticeships are valuable, not only to an individual but also at an organisational level which is why we are an Apprenticeship Ambassador. SWAAN is a great forum for sharing ideas and learning from other ambassadors and we would highly recommend joining, no matter what sector you work in.

The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) is the UK’s agency for providing hydrographic and marine geospatial data to mariners and maritime organisations across the world.  Based in Taunton, Somerset, we offer a range of challenging and interesting roles and all our staff are empowered to develop their skills and contribute to the organisation’s goals.

Our people are at the heart of our organisation and are our most important and valued resource. As an Investors in People employer, we are committed to identifying and nurturing talent to ensure UKHO develops to its fullest potential.  We see the value that apprenticeships bring to the business, helping individuals to develop their skills under the mentorship of internal experts to help ensure a high quality apprenticeship experience.