Royal introduction for Homewood sixth former

Royal introduction for Homewood sixth former

A Homewood sixth former had a never-to-be-forgotten day just before the half term when he met with royalty and then learned that he had been awarded a dream apprenticeship with a world-famous local firm.

Eighteen year-old Oliver was introduced to Princess Anne during a personal visit by the Princess Royal to Stevenson Brothers Rocking Horses in Bethersden, which has been hand-crafting traditional rocking horses for over 30 years.

Oliver has been working part time in the firm’s workshop for the past six months, a placement which was arranged through the school’s Ready for Work programme.

He spends three days a week there and the other two studying for his BTEC level 2 in work skills plus Maths and English.

Since turning 18 Oliver has been able to undertake all aspects of completing a rocking horse – from the carving and sanding to painting the final features onto the horse. His apprenticeship will start later on this year.

Oliver’s interest in woodwork and rocking horses was sparked in childhood by working with his Dad in his home workshop and by an early ride on one of Stevenson’s rocking horses at a local fair.

“You start with just a chunk of wood and at the end it’s amazing to step back to see the result,” said Oliver. “I wake up happy to come to work and really energised.”

The Homewood Ready for Work scheme is a full time programme which is designed to prepare sixth formers for a full-time apprenticeship or employment with training and, in the long term, ensure they are more employable and with increased opportunities in the workplace.

Oliver is pictured shaking hands with Princess Anne in front of the rocking horse he is currently working on.