Friday, September 19, 2014 - 13:38

The Eden Project launched its biggest ever apprenticeship scheme with an event in the Mediterranean Biome last night (Thursday).

Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project, and Raoul Humphreys, deputy CEO of the Cornwall College Group, welcomed the first group of apprentices to Eden. Invited guests sampled a tasting menu of Mediterranean Terrace food prepared by the apprentices.

Sir Tim said: “Tonight is an evening of celebration and it couldn’t be possible without our good friends and partners at Cornwall College.

“Young people are very often taught things away from the cutting edge of employment so we thought why not turn Eden inside out, where every job that we do here can be shadowed and taught? I’m really excited about where we are at the moment.”

Raoul said: "This partnership is unique and offers opportunities for people to come and work in some of the best environments in the world, earning money while they're studying.

“Eden and Cornwall College absolutely share the same ethos. At the end of the day, it is all about a passionate belief that learning can help people to shape their own world and take control of their own decisions.”

Matt Fulford, 17, from Bodmin is Eden’s new HR apprentice. Matt said: “I chose to do an apprenticeship because I wanted to get work experience and I knew that I wanted to go into HR and recruitment. It is nice to know that I’m not going into this apprenticeship by myself, that there is a group of other people my age going through the same programme.”

There are more than 20 people in the first group of apprentices, working across a variety of Eden teams including horticulture, catering, vehicle maintenance, HR, design and media. They will start work at Eden on Monday September 29.

The apprentices will learn an occupation through a combination of working at the project and taking part in off-the-job training and development delivered with Cornwall College. Eden’s apprenticeships will be full-time, for a period of up to two years.

Eden has previously employed a number of apprentices but this will be the most recruited at a single time.

The apprenticeship scheme is part of a formal education programme that has been funded by a grant from the Edge Innovation and Development Fund.

The grant fund was established in the year of the tenth anniversary of the Edge Foundation, an independent education charity, to support innovation in technical, practical and vocational education.