Cumbria Crack

Cumbrian apprentices reach UK finals with inspiring asthma campaign

L-R: GSK Ulevrston Apprentices Kelly Stokes, Joe Hambley, Chief Executive, Brathay Trust - Godfrey Owen (photo credit Brathay Apprentice Challenge)
L-R: GSK Ulevrston Apprentices Kelly Stokes, Joe Hambley, Chief Executive, Brathay Trust – Godfrey Owen (photo credit Brathay Apprentice Challenge)

[A] team of apprentices from GSK Ulverston, who developed an asthma awareness campaign in memory of a local boy has reached the national finals of the prestigious Brathay Apprentice Challenge.

Over 70 teams of apprentices from some of the county’s leading employers, training providers and colleges took part in the competition to find the apprentice team of the year.

The GSK Ulverston apprentices were one of only eight teams to go through to the final, and came top in the North-West region.

As part of their work for the Brathay Challenge, the GSK Ulverston apprentices launched an asthma awareness campaign aimed at young people.

The apprentices are visiting schools, colleges, youth and sports organisations in Cumbria and, accompanied by a qualified nurse, they are spreading the word on how to recognise the symptoms of asthma and what to do if someone is having an asthma attack.

The campaign is in memory of 11-year-old Josh West, from Ulverston, a very popular, friendly boy and talented young footballer, who tragically died of an asthma attack in 2016, aged 11.

The campaign is backed by Josh’s parents, Lee and Nicola West, and Dr Mohamed Olabi, a Consultant Paediatrician from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

Kelly Stokes, 19, a supply chain apprentice from Walney Island, and part of the GSK Ulverston team, says “A lot of people at GSK Ulverston knew Josh and his family, and we were all very moved by his story.

“We’ve had a lot of support for the asthma awareness campaign from staff, local people and Josh’s family.

“Although the asthma awareness campaign started as part of the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, and whilst we are really pleased to have reached the final, the campaign has grown into something bigger for us. We want to do something that will be of real long-term benefit to our local community.”

Asthma is affecting the daily lives of over five million people in the UK, including 1 in 11 children.

As well as the asthma awareness campaign, the GSK Ulverston team also conducted five visits to schools and youth groups to talk about the benefits of apprenticeships, and hosted a business event to talk to potential employers about offering apprenticeships.

Terry Sandham, Apprentice Programme Manager at GSK Ulverston, says  “We are really proud of the fact that our apprentices have been recognised for all their hard work, and for the strength of the asthma awareness campaign. They have got very involved in the campaign, and it really matters to them.

“We are very pleased that they have got through to the next stage of the Brathay Challenge.

“The finals in mid-June, involve a four-day series of problem solving and team activities.   We really hope our team enjoy it and get a great deal out of it – and we wish them the best of luck.”

Speaking at the House of Commons National Finalists Announcement, Godfrey Owen, Chief Executive of organisers, Brathay Trust, said “All of the teams that have taken part have worked really hard and the quality of the portfolios increases year on year.

“The apprentice team of the year finals demonstrate the skills, knowledge and desire to succeed from apprentices; and this continues to inspire others and impress us in equal measure.  It is great to see apprentices put in the hard work to get the recognition they deserve, highlighting how apprenticeships benefit not only young people themselves, but their employers and their local community too.

“We look forward to the National Finals and welcoming the teams to Brathay in June for the Finale.”

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