National Apprenticeship Week 2013

The sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week 2013 will take place from Monday 11 March to Friday 15 March 2013. The Week, which is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, will celebrate the talent, achievements and successes of apprentices across England and showcase the benefits and value Apprenticeships bring to individuals and the organisations they work for.

Every year National Apprenticeship Week increases in popularity.  2012 was a huge success, with more than 800 events and activities on offer across the country.  These ranged from business events designed to encourage more employers to recruit apprentices, to interactive careers events aimed at potential apprentices. National and regional activities will be taking place throughout the Week.

For more information or to get involved in National Apprenticeship Week 2013 go to


To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2013, Merley House Events will be hosting an Apprenticeship Fair.

The event will take place on Tuesday 12 March 2013 between 10am – 6pm
Merley House Events, Merley House, Merley House Lane, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 3AA


Please feel free to come along to the event if you would like to find out more information about apprenticeships.



Apprentice Gala Luncheon success!

The Gala Luncheon hosted by South West Regional Assessment Centre (SWRAC)  in conjunction with Job Centre Plus and the National Apprenticeship Service on Friday 10th February was a tremendous success.  The event, as part of National Apprenticeship Week, intended to raise awareness of the benefits of  training and apprenticeships within organisations. Whilst this is a serious topic, the event was both interesting & enjoyable with Nick Hewer (Lord Sugar’s right hand man from ‘The Apprentice’) providing a stimulating a poignant after luncheon speech.

SWRAC specialises in providing occupational training and apprenticeships to a wide range of individuals and organisations and, more recently, we have been working with Job Centre Plus to upskill those people who have recently become unemployed.  Our experience of working with those who are unemployed has shown that there are many people who are extremely enthusiastic, willing and able, with great personalities who have become unemployed simply because of the down-turn in the economy as a whole and through no fault of their own. In short, many of these people have the potential to make superb employees.

Progressive and enthusiastic Companies from around Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset attended the event and were very impressed with the calibre of the young people who were serving them and the quality of the training they had received.  All of the learners on the sector based work academy received interviews with the employers present, with most being offered a position on an Apprenticeship programme.

The luncheon event has certainly captured the imagination of many organisations in the area with formal announcements made by several local and national organisations about their new commitments to Apprenticeship programmes.

Nick Hewer commented:

“I was pleased to support this event as it gave a great opportunity for people to demonstrate their abilities and commitment to re-skill to match the needs of employers.

The novel approach to bringing together potential employees and employers in such a personal, informal and effective way was imaginative and laudable”.



Apprenticeship Fair

Our Apprenticeship Fair, which took place on Monday 7th February proved to be a phenomenal success and demonstrated the popularity of the new Apprenticeship qualifications.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, the aim of the Apprenticeship fair was to raise awareness of the Apprenticeship scheme amongst employers, especially local small to medium enterprises and to encourage potential Apprentices to see the range of Apprenticeship qualifications on offer. 

Over 700 people attended the fair and were able to talk with training providers and Government organisations to find out about what Apprenticeships can do for them and to take away comprehensive information.  The thirty exhibitors all commented on the positive environment, and declared that the fair was a very worthwhile event.

The popularity of the fair proves that Apprenticeships are the way forward for everyone from school leavers to experienced employees or those who are looking to change their career. We would like to invite more employers who are thinking of taking on an Apprentice or who would like to train their current employees to come forward and discuss their training requirements.  

We would also like to thank all of those who were involved in making the fair a success.

If you would like some more information on what Apprenticeships can do for your business or for you please email us at

Apprenticeship Fair

Come along to our Apprenticeship Fair as part of National Apprenticeship Week on Monday 7th February.  Drop in anytime between 10am and 8pm to find out what Apprenticeship qualifications are available and what they mean to you as an apprentice or as an employer.

Find out more

SWRAC Team Building Weekend

On Friday 1st October two teams led by Fritz the Bear and Benson Bear departed from Merley House.

Their mission was to get to a grid reference point on The Isle of Wight using public transport only. Points were awarded for the first team to arrive safely, the least money spent, the most unusual methods of transport used and the funniest video diary. Fritz and Benson both wanted their picture taken in Eastleigh and needed to eat an unusual lunch. To follow their journeys see the Merley House facebook page.

The winning bear and team is still being debated! Help us decide by leaving us a message on facebook or a comment on the website!

On day 2, reunited, both bears and teams took over the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and learnt about shunting, coupling and driving the trains.

See how we got on: Isle of Wight Steam Railway

A fabulous weekend was had by all with much thanks to the Priory Bay Hotel in the Isle of Wight, everyone at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Adrian Gunner for organising it all and of course Fritz and Benson!

Skills for Life successes at Poole Borough Council

Accredited WAMITAB Centre, South West Regional Assessment Centre (SWRAC) recently became the first to offer the delivery of Skills for Life qualifications to their extensive portfolio of training and education services. They have now successfully delivered their first Skills for Life course and celebrated their first successes with 8 waste operatives at Poole Council being awarded with their certificates.
Judith Ward, Centre Manager at SWRAC said, “We are very pleased to be able to offer the Skills for Life programme to our clients, which affords added value for learners and provides them with a sound basis to continue further skills development.”
Senga Hamilton Caldwell, Lead Skills for Life Tutor at WAMITAB, said, “We hope more of our accredited centres will offer Skills for Life qualifications in the future as the development of functional literacy and numeracy skills for working adults is still a priority for the new coalition Government.”

Photograph features Judith Ward SWRAC, Shaun Robson (Head of Environmental and Consumer Protection Services), Steve Willingham, Andy Burridge, Denis Upshon, Richard Daly and Andy Terry, Poole BC. June 2010

SWRAC Employees

SWRAC Employees

We are pleased to be able to announce Sean Gilbert, Internal Assessor has recently achieved his LGV Driving Assessor registration through RTITB and Judith Ward, Centre Manager has achieved her Additional Diploma for Teaching English through the University of Greenwich.

Merley House

Merley House

The Council of the Borough and County of the Town of Poole has granted approval for Merley House to be regularly used as a venue for the solemnization of marriages, the registration of civil partnerships, and the naming ceremonies of children.  Marriages in the presences of a superintendent registrar and the registrar, civil partnerships in the presence of a civil partnership registrar and naming ceremonies conducted by the registration service may take place in the beautiful surroundings of the Morning Room, the Old Library, The Drawing Room, and the Dining Room.  Merley House can in fact host the celebration of a marriage, civil partnership or naming ceremony or indeed a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion.  The house provides a wonderful environment for a whole range of events and can provide catering, photography, entertainment and more.  Please see for more information.