Apprenticeship Success for Huddersfield family

A Huddersfield family is championing the benefits of Apprenticeships for young people and employers after finding success for the family firm.

At 20, Conor Symonds is the youngest ever project manager for multinational company DeRoyal Industries – one of the market leaders in hospital technology.

He is currently leading a project for patient monitoring in hospitals nationwide that could save the NHS millions of pounds.

Conor started his career as a business administration apprentice for the family firm Approach Medical Limited in Honley, whilst studying at Kirklees College in 2010/11.
Now Conor’s sister Meaghan has also started an Apprenticeship with the college, and is studying for an AAT in accounting.

Seeing how successful Conor has been so quickly, parents Chris and Kaeren are keen to encourage others to go for Apprenticeships – whether young people, parents or employers.

Chris said: “Conor got good GCSE grades at Honley High School and as we were looking at introducing him to the family business, doing a business administration Apprenticeship seemed like the obvious option.

“Apprenticeships help to stretch and develop a young person’s potential because they can use that background theory to good effect within a company.

“I think a lot of parents have high expectations and there is a lot of pressure to send their children to university, but it is quite high risk in the current climate and young people end up coming out in a lot of debt.

“Businesses need a flexible work force and Apprenticeships allow young people to learn skills whilst doing the job, applying what they learn at college and earn money for themselves. They are a valued member of the team.”

Conor said: “With an Apprenticeship you learn practical skills on the job so whatever you’re learning is put into use straight away.

“While I was doing my Apprenticeship I was doing forecasting and analysing, the skills I learned were really put to use. You get to show initiative as well, it wasn’t doing menial tasks, which is beneficial for you.”

Meaghan added: “I’ve been given a lot of responsibility in the company, they make me feel part of the team – I’m not an Apprentice to them.

“I like getting practical experience at work at the same time as education. College is really good and the tutors are nice.”

After finishing his Apprenticeship, Conor worked in marketing, promotions and product research for Approach Medical and then went on secondment to an American company, DeRoyal Industries.

After a period in The States he returned to the UK where he helped Approach Medical secure a national 4 year contract with the NHS for a new patient monitoring technology. This technology uses proximity sensing, which monitors the patient from the bedside and alerts nursing staff to any changes in the patient’s condition.

Following a clinical case study at Salford Royal Infirmary completed in December ’14 it proved a 60% reduction in one to one nursing, a saving for the hospital of £2.5 million per annum.

Conor is now instrumental in the roll out, installation and clinical staff training across the UK.

To find out more about Apprenticeships with Kirklees College visit

Conor, Chris, Kaeren and Meaghan