Apprentices on why they love working on the job
PUBLISHED: 08:53 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:13 06 March 2019
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Companies and business organisations across the country are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week. Eleanor Pringle talks to some of the young people in Norfolk and Waveney working as apprentices across a range of sectors.
1. The health sector
Bex Bilham is an assistant practitioner (AP) with the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).
Ms Bilham was originally recruited after A-levels in September 2015 onto a one-year healthcare assistant apprenticeship.
Last month, she started an apprenticeship degree with the University of Suffolk and will continue to work as an AP at the Julian Hospital, Norwich.
She said: “When I left school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I was more interested in mental health than physical health because I did an A-level in psychology. I was also looking for work where I’d be able to build up my level of experience and develop my career.
“At the beginning, it was quite overwhelming but I liked it from the first day because my colleagues were very supportive and I enjoyed being part of a team. There are some very good nurses at our Trust and my ambition now is to be one of them.”
2. The building sector
Robbie Dougal from Norwich is six months into a two-year plumbing apprenticeship with maintenance company RFT Services.
The company is the subsidiary repairs arm of housing association Flagship.
Before joining Flagship, Mr Dougal spent 11 years in financial services, working predominantly as a personal banker.
He said: “I’ve wanted to train as a plumber for a number of years and an apprenticeship suits my learning style. I’ve always been a vocational learner as opposed to via a textbook or classroom.
“I would encourage anybody contemplating an apprenticeship to go for it. I’m 37, so have about 30 years of work ahead of me. I didn’t want to spend all that time doing something I didn’t really enjoy, having the same conversations all day, every day. So, on that basis, it was an easy decision to make.”
3. The energy sector
Growing up in Lowestoft, Suffolk, Jordan Halliday was no stranger to the offshore energy industry with both his father and brother working for oil and gas companies in the North Sea.
Mr Halliday began his journey at Lowestoft College, studying the EAL Level 2 Diploma in Engineering, before beginning the Siemens Mechatronics Advanced Apprenticeship.
He said: “I’m more of a practical learner, so after hearing of the Siemens Apprenticeship I was very keen to undertake the course.
“The energy sector is important as it influences our everyday lives, and through working in the renewable energy field I’ll be keeping the lights on in an environmentally friendly way.
“A particular highlight for me was learning how to create a computer programme and trouble shoot issues which could occur on a windfarm.”
4. The retail sector
Olivia Howlett and Morgan Smith, both 19, are currently undertaking a combined level 2 and 3 apprenticeship at Crop Shop in Norwich.
Miss Howlett said: “When I see the debt other people my age are in it’s just such a relief that I’m not in that position. A lot of them don’t know what they want to do for a career, and they’ve got all that debt.
“I’m already earning and I’m on my way to my career. There’s a guaranteed job at the end of this and I’m already able to plan and be confident about building the rest of my future.”
Miss Smith said: “You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I get more flexibility as an apprentice because I get to work between Crop Shop in Norwich and in Lowestoft where I live. If I was studying in Norwich I wouldn’t have that option – plus my travel is paid for.”
Miss Howlett has been studying for a year and a half, and Miss Smith has been studying for two years.
5. The agricultural sector
Harry Cleverley, 17, is studying on a level two livestock apprenticeship at Church Farm in Stow Bardolph. He is being supported by Easton and Otley College.
He said: “I chose an apprenticeship because classroom setting was not something I enjoyed. School wasn’t really my thing so I thought if I could learn practically for most of the week then that would be a better way of learning for me.
“I’m considering doing a level three apprenticeship – but if I get offered a job that is exactly what I want to do then I would take that option.”
He added: “I’ve been working with all sorts of animals with my employer and I’m learning something new every day. Being outside is a big thing for me within my work.
“I think it’s a better way of learning and you are getting out and working
at a young age. I’m also getting paid so it suits me perfectly.”