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Lauren Baker – Green Lighting Ltd

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I went to school in Kidderminster at King Charles I School & Sixth Form, this is where I decided to stay on to complete my A Levels. I chose to do A Levels in English Language and Literature, Economics, ICT and Sociology. After my first months I found that Sociology wasn’t for me so I dropped the subject and continued with the others. During sixth form our teachers wanted us to start the university application process. We also had meetings with our careers adviser to explore other pathways. After a meeting with my careers adviser I decided to see what apprenticeships were about and maybe apply to some training providers.

Fortunately for me I was able to take advantage of the apprenticeship programme through Heart of Worcestershire College after I took my A levels. I knew that I did not want to stay in education and take the traditional university route.  I wanted a career and to be a successful business woman, I had the grades to gain a degree but I did not see this as the best path for me. I did not see the apprentice route as second best I saw it as the fasted and most appropriate method for me to gain experience, credence and knowledge in business.

The biggest impact I found with this type of learning was how much I enjoyed putting the theory straight into practice and vice versa. To have this opportunity has meant that my skills set for my age in our business is unique, I am able to converse technically with a variety of customers and colleagues. Since commencing my apprenticeship my self-belief and confidence has grown and I feel able to show initiative in the business environment. I have had to develop my team player skills, yet be capable of working independently and effectively prioritise multiple concurrent projects. Starting with the level 3 apprenticeship and progressing on to the level 4 has enabled me to enjoy learning again and reawaken my desire to get a degree and I feel proud that I making an impact in my role within the business.

I love my job and want to keep progressing in the company. The apprenticeship programme has opened up a whole new way of life for me, I am earning a good salary for someone my age and am able to realise my potential to increase this through training and education.

My journey is testament that higher education is possible to achieve and that there is a tangible alternative to going to university to gain a degree. I believe passionately in apprenticeships as the future for training Britain’s workforce and want to continue to vocalise this as an ambassador nationally .I believe strongly in the mentoring system we have in place within my company and would like to see it adopted for all apprentices. I act as a mentor for any new staff who join the company and those more established colleagues who are returning to learning.

Throughout the apprenticeship programme I have also had many opportunities to meet other like-minded apprentices with the drive to succeed. I am a member of the West Midlands Apprentice Ambassador Network which enables me go out and meet new people and also go out and meet apprentices of the future. I have also been lucky enough to be put forward by my company for the National Apprentice Awards 2016, where I stand Highly Commended Regionally of which I am immensely proud!

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