Apprenticeships are growing in popularity both with employers and young people.
It’s not surprising really, as the cost of going to university is putting many people off and they can see the clear benefits of gaining work experience alongside a recognised qualification.
It’s something Christine Grocock of Drive By Websites would encourage.
She has seen the benefits brought by the three young people apprenticed to her Pinchbeck based company.
The young people have brought new skills to the mix and expanded the workforce.
However, the apprenticeships have also been a springboard to more success for the young people.
One, Demi Blackbourn (18), became the South Holland Apprentice of the Year in 2013 after starting her apprenticeship with Christine.
She had gained design skills during her first year of A-levels at Stamford college in graphic design, media and related studies.
Demi, of Spalding, says: “This apprenticeship came up and it was either I go to uni or come here and gain the experience. It’s been useful.”
Demi is in her second year now and when she finishes in August should have qualifications equivalent to A-levels – an NVQ at Level 3 in IT.
Most importantly, when she applies for jobs Demi is not only armed with her qualification, but with two years of experience she wouldn’t have had if she had stayed in college or university.
Christine says: “It’s quite refreshing to have young people in the office and to hear young people’s ideas. From day one Demi was making money for the company because of the design work.”
Adam Pearson (24), also of Spalding, who has now finished his apprenticeship, was given entire projects to work on from early on. With Christine’s guidance, he is now running his own business, Home Computer Skills, helping people to get online and to Skype on their home computer. Adam is also good at problem-solving and repairs – he voluntarily looks after computers for 1406 (Spalding) Air Cadet Squadron.
Jack McLean (19), of Pinchbeck, gained his computer-based knowledge growing up in a household full of technology, so it didn’t occur to him that he had useful skills he could work with.
However, when an IT colleague of Christine’s in Nottingham wanted an apprentice, but didn’t have office space, she advertised for someone with skills in social media, marketing and web design. For the last year Jack has had office space and received training at Drive By Websites, working on projects for his Nottingham employer.
Christine says: “If companies are thinking of having an apprentice I would say it is a good idea. It has worked very well for us.”