The ‘real world’ value of being an apprentice

Coun Sally Slade with apprentices Tom Hunter and Paige Davies
Coun Sally Slade with apprentices Tom Hunter and Paige Davies

CABINET CALL: By Coun Sally Slade

As the parent of three teenagers, I am aware of the stress that choosing further education causes.

“Which course?” or, “Which college?” and “How will I afford it?”

The Apprenticeship route is now well-established, but did you know that we have apprentices in the offices of South Holland District Council?

I had not realised what was on offer until a recent meeting with several of SHDC’s current and past apprentices.

Some have been here for a few months, others have completed their apprenticeships and are now employees.

I asked why they had chosen this route. Some had not wanted to go to college and others had had no idea what they wanted to do.

They had not all come straight from school either, there was a range of academic backgrounds and personal circumstances involved.

One admitted to applying because it was local and travel costs would be really low.

Whatever their reasons for joining were, they all had genuine enthusiasm for the work.

All agreed that the training is relevant and tailored to suit you; college tutors observe and guide you, but you feel independent.

Gemma hopes to stay in HR, where she can gain professional qualifications whilst earning a wage.

Adam and Dom enjoy the wide range of work in Customer Services, and the interaction with the public.

Paige had spent time in many different departments, getting a strategic overview and enabling her to find her strengths.

Corey, who is employed in the ICT department, won Lincolnshire and Rutland Skills Board Apprentice of the Year in 2014.

The scheme gave him “real world experience” and transferable skills.

He and Tom, who is in the Finance department, have both acquired many qualifications and they now help new apprentices.

Tom wants to become a chartered accountant, and feels that he has gained more practical skills in the workplace than he would have done in a classroom.

I loved hearing about their plans. Their manager, Claire, told me that she came into council work by the same route and is hugely grateful for the opportunity.

She said that anyone considering this should see www.apprentices.org.uk; a national website which explains the possibilities.

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