It’s National Apprenticeship Week (March 9 to 13) and at DZG we’ve plenty to celebrate.
We know the importance of apprentices they’ve been an integral part of our workforce since Dudley Zoo opened its doors in 1937 and 78 years on we’re continuing to mentor and train local workers across all departments of our business.We currently have four apprentices based on our Animal sections, two in Customer Services and two on our pioneering concrete repair scheme working on a unique restoration programme for four Modernist Tecton structures which have World Monuments status. And with a permanent staff of 82, excluding seasonal workers, that’s 10 per cent of our workforce and shows just how committed we are to training tomorrow’s team. Our partnerships are via Heart of England Attractions and Dudley College, our next door neighbour, and cover a wide range of skills that our apprentices use in real-life situations every day. DZG CEO Peter Suddock said: “Many of our staff started off their careers as apprentices and not only have they embraced their jobs but developed all sorts of life skills, which have proved invaluable, that simply cannot be taught in a classroom situation. “As a leading tourist attraction there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that visitors don’t know about that combines to make a great day out and all our staff are responsible for being part of a team that delivers daily.” The concrete repair programme is a pioneering apprentice scheme that will guarantee a future for a further eight Modernist structures around the site the world’s largest single collection of Tectons. Mr Suddock added: “There wasn’t the expertise out there to complete the Tecton restoration project so we decided to set up an apprentice scheme using local talent and in-house knowledge so we can continue making repairs as and when they are needed, and develop the skills, quite literally, at our fingertips.”
He said: “Training is very much at the heart of what we do, there is always a wealth of experience to hand on site at any time to pass on and share with apprentices; it’s a very worthwhile, tried and trusted model at DZG.
“Teamwork is pivotal to our success and we’re very proud to be constantly developing a workforce that will help the business go from strength to strength, guaranteeing a strong, long future for a much-loved tourist attraction.”
MEET OUR APPRENTICES . . .
Curator Matt Lewis, who has more than 20 years’ DZG?experience to share with apprentice keepers (from left) Ellis Robinson, Leigha Tedd, Danielle Partridge, and Ryan Clarke.
Animal loving Ellis was studying health and social care at college, but signed up for a new challenge after discovering details of the apprentice scheme.
The 18-year-old, from Lower Gornal, said: “I always knew I really wanted to work with animals. The days consist of cleaning out and feeding the animals and interacting with members of the public and Keeper for a Day sessions with the tapirs.
“I really enjoy it and I would love to get a job working at the zoo at the end of it.”
Seventeen-year-old Leigha Tedd, from Darlaston, was studying NVQ Level 2 Animal Care