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Meet the Team: Paul Smith

What is your role at OAS?

I am the Key Account Manager here at OAS and my role involves liaising with our current employer partners as well as on boarding new employers into our portfolio. I assist our partners to help them achieve the outcomes that they are looking for as well as looking to develop those relationships to help businesses hit strategic targets.

Why is the new OAS Training Centre so important for the Oxfordshire area?

There is a growing skills shortage in the manufacturing and engineering sector across the region and this new facility is going to be pivotal in addressing the skills gap. The skills we develop here can be utilised by a diverse group of business and we are best placed to support them to future proof their businesses either through the introduction of new talent or upskilling their current workforce.

What do you think of the new Training Centre?

The centre presents huge opportunities in the way it is set up and all the kit we have here allows apprentices to hit the ground running when they go back into business in year 2. Crucially, we also teach them the workplace skills here that are so essential, and the team do a fantastic job providing the support mechanisms that allow them to achieve high standards.

What do you enjoy most about working at OAS?

I have worked in education, particularly apprenticeships for some time because I like to see where I can add value and make an impact on the future of young people and the ongoing success of the sector. It has been great to join OAS, an organisation that has the learner at the forefront of everything that it does.

In your opinion, what are the benefits of choosing an apprenticeship?

For the learner, it provides a much better pathway for those wanting to get into engineering. It gives them a head start in real business and the knowledge they obtain from colleagues is invaluable.

For businesses, bringing on a practically minded individual who already has a base level of skills means they can hit the ground running from the start and be a real asset to the business when they start with them full time. Also, by working with OAS, we allow our partners the opportunity to input into that education to enable us to help them achieve their goals.

What can OAS offer local businesses in the area?

We listen. We actively invite our employers and prospective employer partners to participate in the development of OAS and our programme. We take on board what businesses in the local area are looking for and I have never been anywhere that allows this much external contribution. Idea generation is crucial to our future and will only help the businesses that we work with.