Category Archives: Victoria in North Oxfordshire

National Apprenticeship Week: Karcher

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Victoria is sharing the stories and experiences of local apprentices and their employers. 

Below are accounts from apprentices working with Karcher. 


Business Administration Apprentice

KArcher Zoe

“I joined Kärcher UK Ltd in 2016 as Business Administration Apprentice.  I was 16 when I started and was placed within Business Support.

Whilst working on Reception/Business support I developed a wide range of skills that have helped me in so many more aspects of my life. The main skill that has helped me is communication which has also developed my confidence. When I first started within Karcher I was not a confident, out-going individual, however as my time went on within Business Support this changed and I now feel confident to talk to people I am unfamiliar with. Working on business support allowed me to build relationships with new people and gain an understanding of how the business works. It was a huge step going from school into the workplace, and building relationships with other colleagues made this transformation a lot less intimidating. I also developed my basic IT skills using emails, calendars etc daily. Being on Business Support meant that the team was the main contact for most people within the business, this meant that it was our responsibility to keep all personnel databases up to date. This allowed me to develop my organisational skills and improve on how to deal with pressure. This also allowed me to develop new skills such as prioritising and using my initiative to make sure that all work is complete and up to date.

At the end of my Apprenticeship I gained an NVQ in Customer Service and was offered a full time role within the Customer Service Team.

I now work within the Retail and National Sales Support Team. Within this team, I have my own Retail and National Accounts (e.g. Halfords, Travis Perkins) which I support through a range of tasks. It is our responsibility to process all orders, deal with all questions and queries in a timely manner, book orders in and ensure that all orders are delivered on time and in full. We provide an all-round service to our accounts and see all orders through from the point of receiving the initial call for a quote, processing the order, booking this in and ensuring delivery is on time, and we are all multi-skilled to help each other out if needs be. Our team also acts as the support for the other sales teams as we work very closely with our third party logistics company, so we are often their point of contact. We work closely and build relationships with the National and Retail Account managers to ensure all queries are dealt with appropriately. Our team also specialises in bulk deliveries, and all customer specialised requirements. It is our responsibility to maintain a product Matrix that is used throughout the business, so we must ensure that the information is accurate and up to date.”



HR Administrator

Karcer Natasha

“After starting my Apprenticeship in 2010, I now work within the HR department as HR Administrator.  My main responsibilities are within Recruitment and Onboarding however I support the HR Director, HR Business Partner and HR Advisor.   I started my Apprenticeship within Business Support and developed my organisational skills, gained a good understanding of the various departments and knew this was the company I wanted to progress in.     

I really enjoy the diversity within the HR department and feel like I learn different skills every day.  The company have supported me with a Study Program to enable me achieve CIPD level 3.  Once qualified I would really like to progress to Advisory level”.



Marketing Apprentice

Karcher Olivia


“Whilst finishing my GCSE’s I started looking around at what apprenticeships were available to me, in August 2017 I applied here at Karcher UK for a customer service apprenticeship, but my interviewer listened to my interests and ambitions and so suggested I might rather suit a marketing role, so they made me my marketing apprenticeship, I took on that amazing offer and did not look back.

I have learnt all aspects of marketing from digital, communications and product marketing as well as trade. I currently have the responsibly of dealing with the POS (point of sale) requests from our retail support team while working with our external store POS agencies. I also have the job of collecting all literature required for dealers, Area Sales Managers, our 3 centres and 15 DODO’s, depending on their target market or objective.  When I took over the responsibility of all of the literature, I came up with the idea of an interactive PDF to ease and simplify the processes of ordering from both parties, this is now used throughout the whole of the company daily. I help co-ordinate events all across the country such as LAMMA in Peterborough, the Speed Machine festival in Silverstone and the Cleaning Show in Manchester. Despite these long hours it is so rewarding seeing the end result and having so much fun with the team.

I have developed so many skills while only being here 6 months, skills that none of my friends at sixth form or college have achieved there, from working in a professional workplace, dealing with time management and responsibility of me as well as my work. I use these every day of my working life as well as my marketing skills, such as more creative thinking, communication to businesses as well as consumers, analytical thinking and negotiation. As well as gaining the most important skills, working with industry professionals, gaining experience two years earlier than most as well as qualifications, I am earning my own wage.  I am hopefully going to go onto level 3, then advancing to degree level in the future.”



Apprentice Engineer

karcher Zack

“I am due to complete my apprenticeship in May 2018.  I started my Engineering course nearly 3 years ago and have been really lucky to have worked both here in the Workshop and out in the field.  I have worked with some of our larger products such as City Sweepers and have diagnosed electrical, mechanical and software issues.

I particularly enjoyed working in the Karcher Academy and was actively involved in project work.

I have already been offered a full time role as Field Engineer once I have qualified in May which I am really looking forward to”.



Business Support Apprentice

Karcher megan

My Apprenticeship Program with Kärcher UK Ltd started in 2017 when I was 16 years old.  I was placed within Business Support and starting by working on Reception greeting customers, receiving calls and responding to emails. 

I have developed various skills including how to deal with enquires from all types of customers face to face, over the phone and via email. I have also learnt how to sort incoming and outgoing post, keeping phone lists up to date, booking meeting rooms, ordering essentials for the work area and lunches.  I have gained a good understanding of what each department does and have got to know staff quickly from seeing them come in each day.

Starting on Reception has given me a great foundation and I am now progressed to Credit Control to support my learning towards by NVQ in Customer Services.”


A2Dominion, Barry Wood, Victoria, apprentices Connor and Ricardo, Paddy P and Lindsey Cropped

This National Apprenticeship Week, Victoria Prentis is celebrating the vital contribution of apprentices in North Oxfordshire. 

Since 2010 there have been 6220 apprentices in Victoria’s constituency and over 1.2 million new apprenticeships nationally since 2015.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Government’s strategy to expand opportunity and develop the skilled workforce the country needs. This includes working with industry to deliver an ambitious target of 3 million new apprenticeship starts by 2020.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Victoria has been sharing stories of local apprentices and their employers on social media. She started the week visiting construction apprentices, Connor and Ricardo, working with A2Dominion, and today met Callum and Callum working with ‘Sensor Technology’.

Commenting, Victoria said:

“Apprenticeships allow people to earn while they learn, and open doors to highly skilled, rewarding careers. The Government’s reforms are not only increasing apprenticeship numbers, but also driving up the quality of apprenticeships, meaning they have real value in the jobs market.

It has been a pleasure meeting apprentices in my constituency and showcasing their hard work alongside the support of their employers.”


National Apprenticeship Week: Ben

I started my apprenticeship, with Town & Country Plumbing & Heating, in September 2016. From then onwards, my knowledge and skills in the plumbing trade have developed drastically and are continuing to improve.

I chose to do an apprenticeship as I had finished school not really knowing what I wanted to do with myself with the grades I had acquired. When I started, I was a little nervous as I didn’t know what to expect from being an apprentice, but as soon as I started at Town and Country I was made to feel welcome and straight away part of the team or family. It was, and still is great. I had also read in places that there is good money in plumbing and that there is a high demand for plumbers.

Personally, I would recommend to anyone not to go to college or even university as it could be a waste of time and money when you could get involved in a trade and be set up for your future life. Straight away you start earning money, which is good because you’re learning and getting paid for it whilst gaining the knowledge of a trade.

The average time it takes to complete your apprenticeship is 4 years. Within the 4 years, you attend college once a week to learn the more complex things about the trade. First you start at level 2, which takes around a year. Then, if you pass, you get an NVQ2. After level 2 the college will offer you a level 3 course which takes the knowledge of plumbing into further detail. After you complete that you will have the opportunity to take your gas course which basically allows you to work with gas which is my personal aim.




f254d3bb-86a7-4e83-bdfa-f5265dfcb60c Cropped

North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis has praised the work of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel and welcomed their recommendation for further work to be undertaken before a final decision is made about the future of maternity services at the Horton. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has accepted the Panel’s advice and suggested that a joint overview and scrutiny committee which spans the Horton’s catchment area – and covers all the local authorities – is set up to monitor progress going forward.


Victoria Prentis MP said:


“I am extremely grateful to Oxfordshire’s Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for their referral and to the IRP for their thorough assessment. It has been a profoundly difficult situation for all of us who use the Horton, particularly for those who have been affected by the closure of the obstetric unit. The IRP’s conclusion that further work needs to be undertaken comes as a huge relief and is recognition of what many of us have been saying repeatedly since the flawed consultation process began. Not only do they recognise the obvious interdependencies of services at the Horton, but they make it very clear that consideration must be given to the provision of antenatal care, travel and parking arrangements and local growth before any final decision is made.  


“The IRP’s report follows a very critical review of health services in Oxfordshire undertaken by the Care Quality Commission, and last week’s decision by the Clinical Commissioning Group to pause Phase Two of the Transformation Programme. Judicial review proceedings continue. It is time for us to draw a line under the past two years. We need to start again with a blank sheet, and work together to focus on a real vision for the future of healthcare in Oxfordshire. I am looking forward to uniting with others across county boundaries who use the Horton to ensure our voices are heard.”


Cllr Arash Fatemian, Chairman of Oxfordshire’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee added:


“The IRP’s report vindicates the anger and frustration which has been felt across our community for almost two years. It has been a difficult and uncertain time and while the IRP has not put forward an immediate solution, a restart of the consultation process will afford us the opportunity to have our voices genuinely heard.


“I call on the CCG to recognise the importance of the messages laid down by IRP. This is a chance for the CCG’s new leadership to embrace the issue and move forward constructively. I will seek to action the creation of an extended Scrutiny Committee to ensure the views of our neighbours in Warwickshire and Northamptonshire are also represented.


“We should not be daunted by going back to the drawing board nor should this be considered by the community as a step backward. It is an opportunity for us to revive our united front and fight our corner. We will leave no stone unturned to get the best outcome for residents of Banbury and surrounding areas.”


Hooky sign in Strangers Bar Cropped

On Wednesday 28 February, Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, welcomed Hook Norton brewery to the House of Commons.

Strangers Bar in Parliament regularly plays host to ‘guest beers’ from constituencies across the UK and Victoria invited her own constituency favourite, Hook Norton Brewery to feature this week. The beer is one of Hook Norton’s finest ales, and will be available for MPs and Peers to try for a limited period.

James Clarke and Mark Graham from the brewery travelled down to Westminster to pull a pint and celebrate the occasion.

Victoria commented: “I was thrilled to welcome Hook Norton brewery to Parliament this week and showcase one of my constituency’s finest products. Hooky is one of my favourite beers so I was really pleased to have the opportunity for my colleagues to enjoy it at Westminster too.”

James Clarke, Managing Director of Hook Norton Brewery added: “It was a great opportunity for us to bring along our beer and talk about the brewing process here at Hook Norton Brewery. It is an increasingly tough market and we work very hard to produce a honest, quality beer so to have the opportunity to showcase it here was fantastic.  We have been handcrafting our beers in Oxfordshire for 169 years and hope to continue for many years to come.”

Victoria with James Clarke in Strangers Bar, House of Commons.

Victoria with James Clarke in Strangers Bar, House of Commons.


ARCH Cropped

On Friday 9 February 2018, Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire visited Bicester-based charity, Assisted Reading for Children (ARCh) Oxfordshire. The visit provided an opportunity to meet those who run the charity and explore ways Victoria can support them with their work in schools going forward.

ARCh works in over 100 primary schools across Oxfordshire, helping hundreds of children to read every year. They recruit, train and support volunteers in primary schools, offering individual sessions with children. Within this, volunteers help to inspire young people through reading, games, drawing and writing stories, helping to boost their confidence.

During the meeting, Victoria and the ARCh team discussed ways in which she can help them as a charity and help to raise awareness of the work that they do.

Victoria commented: “My family and I are all obsessed with reading and books so it was great to visit ARCh and discuss the wonderful work that they do. It is clear that such support couldn’t be given without the dedication of their volunteers and I look forward to working with them to increase awareness.”

Elaine Adams, ARCh Development Manager added: “ARCh are always on the lookout for more volunteers especially in areas of greatest need such as Blackbird Leys, Cowley, Abingdon, Bicester and Banbury and we are particularly keen to link with any business who wish to connect with local school communities through our company volunteering scheme. For more information on getting involved, visit our website:”




Following today’s publication of the Care Quality Commission’s full system review into health and social care provision in Oxfordshire, Victoria Prentis MP has commented:

“The lack of a joined-up, forward thinking vision for our local health and social care system has been an ongoing concern for me so the CQC’s findings come as no surprise. We have suffered for too long with a system where providers are reactive not proactive in their decisions, are difficult to communicate with and are unable to articulate a truly innovative plan for the future of healthcare in Oxfordshire. This report is the reality check the system needed.

“The CQC could not have been clearer in their recommendations. We all have a lot of work to do. Going forward, I am hopeful that we will be able to work together collaboratively and constructively to make the long overdue improvements to the direction and delivery of healthcare services across Oxfordshire. I know plans are already underway to improve the Health and Wellbeing Board and I will continue to do what I can to help with that work as it progresses.”

#HERstory: Councillor Lucy Donaldson

I was elected a Banbury Town Councillor in May 2016 at the age of 19. When I found out that I was successful I was a mixture of emotions. Elated, proud and shocked to name a few. In a male dominated council, I had more votes than some of my highly experienced colleagues.

I was not expecting to be the youngest town councillor Banbury had ever had, but I am utterly honoured to represent women inside and outside of politics.

#HERstory: Zoe McLernon

From a young age, I was interested in politics and my parents were always astounded by my opinions of politicians at the age of 8.

Having grown up and attended school in Bicester, I wanted to give something back to the Town so sought public office in 2015.

At 20 years old, my main concern was how I would be perceived by the electorate, given my age. Being female never really crossed my mind but it certainly made a difference on the doorstep.

I was not elected but was grateful for the opportunity to stand as a young female and put myself forward to represent a younger generation in the town.

Now working for Victoria Prentis MP, I have learnt from her that women in politics can be strong and resilient. The generation of women above me have overcome many barriers and it is great to see the respect for Victoria and other female MPs in the House. 

Women have come so far over the years and I am sure that my own generation will be able to build upon this. I only hope that other countries follow in our footsteps.

#HERstory: Councillor Melanie Magee

As someone who has a passion for my local community, I wanted to get more involved, but thought I wasn’t the ‘right sort of person’ to do it, having not followed the typical academic route, and having been a young single mum. However, as a qualified full time HR professional, I realised my skills were valuable to the community, so I started volunteering with my local job club providing practical advice to job seekers, specifically the young unemployed and was inspired to stand as a local Councillor, subsequently being elected as a Town and District Councillor in 2011. In my Councillor roles I’ve led a number of apprenticeship initiatives to support employment and skills opportunities.

In 2013, I was elected Mayor of Bicester, and was then honoured to be elected Chairman of Cherwell District Council for 2015, being the youngest female to hold either of these offices in the locality.

As my political career developed, I was selected as the parliamentary candidate for the Oxford East constituency seat in December 2014, for the 2015 general election. In a male dominated political environment, I’d like to think that I am proof that by having a passion, determination and getting involved, you really can make a difference!

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