STUDENTS and staff at Solihull College gave a warm welcome to Apprentice TV star, Gary Poulton as they congratulated him on his new role as Apprenticeship Ambassador at the college.
The hit BBC One show quarter finalist – who was brought up in Marston Green – narrowly missed out on a place in the final of the latest BBC One series, The Apprentice.
But, since leaving the firing line, Gary has landed the role of Property Programmer for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants – and is now working closely with aspiring apprentices’ at Solihull College.
Gary said:“Having tackled the boardroom, it will be an honour to represent Solihull College & University Centre as an ambassador for the apprenticeship programme.
“Working with Solihull College and supporting businesses, it is a fantastic opportunity to create awareness and promote such a fantastic scheme, particularly within the local Solihull and surrounding Birmingham area.”
The local star – who has first-hand experience of the apprenticeship route – took part in a Q&A session with students to discuss the benefits of apprenticeships.
But, the TV star didn’t stop there – and pulled in his fellow competitors to take part in a boardroom sketch with Principal, John Callaghan.
Taking a spin on the series, John criticised the contestants’ set of skills and business plans, in a bid to find the ideal apprentice.
But, the stars were given the boot and Solihull College apprentice, Luke Volkaerts was hired.
Luke, Solihull Chamber Business Analyst apprentice said: “It’s promising to hear the success story of a local celebrity who has taken a similar route to the rest of us.
“Also, it’s great to have a role model like Gary to aspire to”
Since Gary’s visit, potential employers – including the Premier Inn Hotel – have approached the college with a number of apprenticeship opportunities.
John Callaghan, Solihull College’s Principal said: “We are always looking for ways in which we can further increase our apprenticeship provision and having people such as Gary, who recently featured in Lord Sugar’s “The Apprentice” programme, backing our initiative is really positive. As a College we are looking forward to promoting apprenticeships as a serious alternative which allows apprentices to earn as they learn.”