I didn’t begin my apprenticeship thinking “I want to be apprentice of the year for Worcestershire”. I don’t think anyone begins their apprenticeship with that sole thought in mind; The Worcestershire Apprentice Awards didn’t even exist when I started my apprenticeship over 4 years ago. You start an apprenticeship because you don’t enjoy full time education anymore, because you don’t think you are going to get the grades to go to uni, or because you have a part time job and you enjoy earning a bit of money.
Last week I was involved with a local training provider open evening. I had been invited along to share my experience of an apprenticeship with prospective apprentices and their parents. Hereford and Worcester Group Training Association (HWGTA) provide bespoke training for workplace competence and qualifications across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, and further afield. They are financed and controlled by local companies. This means that their member companies decide how they want their training organisation to be run for maximum benefit to their businesses, employees, and the local community. With their expert staff and top class facilities, HWGTA can provide “off-site” training and “on site” support, brought together seamlessly into an effective training solution. This in turn produces employees who are skilled, motivated, and able to fit in easily to the work environment for which they have been trained.
Having been awarded Ofsted Outstanding 2015/16, and with upwards of 150 annual applicants for only 40-50 places, this is a competitive environment for anyone considering applying to this provider.
HWGTA are not the only training providers out there though! If you type in “Apprentice Training Providers Worcester” into your search engine, and click onto the worcsapprenticeships.org.uk/providers/ website, on there you can search any one of 47 different industries and find the training providers operating in that industry. There are, on average, 5 training providers per industry, so there is plenty to choose from.
If you are considering an apprenticeship in Engineering, or Accountancy, my suggestion would be to start applying as soon as you can. Engineering and Accountancy tend to work with the calendar school year because at least one day a week will involve you participating in a part-time course at college or university. Apprenticeships in Warehousing, and Business Admin tend to be more flexible, so you can normally apply as, and when, you decide that this is the pathway you would like to pursue.
I tried to stress three main points when speaking during the open evening :
Be enthusiastic! Unfortunately not all employers can 100% guarantee you permanent employment after your apprenticeship. So rather than waiting until the end of your apprenticeship and asking your employer for a job, be enthusiastic, be pro-active, show that you are a valued member of the team, and when it comes to the end of your apprenticeship it’ll be your employer who comes to you and asks you to become a permanent member of staff.
Enjoy what you do! 2-4 years is a long time to sign up to something. When I first started my apprenticeship I thought 4 years would take forever! But these 4 years have flown by…why? Because I really enjoy what I do. I enjoy working with the people I work with, I enjoy doing the work that I do, and I really have enjoyed doing my apprenticeship. Start to think about what you like to do. At the very least have a think about whether you could see yourself doing an apprenticeship for the next few years.
There is no such thing as a silly question! Being an apprentice often means that your colleagues will expect you to have very little industry experience to begin with. That means you are in the best position, because you can ask any question and it will not be taken as a silly one. If you have been in higher education, there is an expectation that you have theoretical knowledge and you should know some answers already. Not as an apprentice though. So take advantage! Ask as many questions as possible.
Next week is national Apprenticeship Week throughout the UK. Schools, and colleges around Worcestershire will be talking apprenticeships. There will be a Skills Show at Sixways Stadium that has been organised to get students and employers networking with one another. Come and see the industries you could be a part of. It is running from 8am-4pm for schools and colleges, and from 4pm-7pm for parents and students.
Until next time! For regular updates, follow @No1_apprentice