APPRENTICESHIPS should be offered to mature workers as well as being a entry route for school-leavers, a local veterinary group is proud to say.

After a big push for National Apprenticeship Week last month the Vets4Pets group is reminding businesses that it also makes sense to invest in older more experienced employees.

The firm's support office, based in Swindon, provides business expertise to 182 Vets4Pets and companion care veterinary practices throughout the country.

The company says it currently has more than 200 employees across the group training on apprenticeships in roles varying from IT, finance, recruitment, and in the marketing and legal departments.

Among them is 59-year-old Lesley from Swindon who is undertaking a customer service apprenticeship.

Jo Fuller, head of learning and development at the company, said: “Lesley is a fantastic role model and a hard worker. She perfectly demonstrates how anyone, regardless of their age, can enjoy and benefit from learning new skills and gaining qualifications through an apprenticeship.

“We not only want to attract and nurture local talent but also invest in our existing colleagues.

“Now, with no age restrictions for apprenticeships, everyone has the opportunity to continue learning, progress their career and make a shift into a job area that interests them. We currently have apprenticeship colleagues who vary in ages from 18 up to 59.”

Lesley, who worked as a receptionist for two years before her apprenticeship, said: "My line manager at Vets4Pets was the one who first suggested that I complete a diploma in customer service as an apprenticeship within the group.

“I had never done, or even thought about doing, anything like this before, so initially I wasn’t sure, but once I started, I really began enjoying the work and learning new skills."

“We have coursework each month on a different customer service topic, whether its new regulations and legislation or responsibilities within our organisation."

Vets4Pets has also launched a Leading People apprenticeship to focus on supporting line managers to become inspiring leaders.