Almost 20 years ago, we identified that Apprentices are a great opportunity to give people a great foundation in a career in construction in the built environment. This opportunity also brought about other benefits like assisting with succession planning, talent management and filling skills gaps, so after the success of our trade apprenticeships, we expanded our offering to cover other areas such as Business Admin, Customer Service and Housing and we keep expanding the routes we offer.
Our existing, qualified and experienced trades colleagues like to be able to share and pass on the skills and knowledge they have acquired over their careers. Apprentices are given the opportunity to build on their qualifications many on completion not only stay with the organisation but have themselves become mentors or service managers in time, and several will take future qualifications in other trade areas or academic qualifications such as a HNC. I believe they work as they offer a great route into careers for people who don’t want to go down an academic route such as University. They allow the apprentice to ‘Learn and Earn’ and gain a valuable recognised qualification that they can build on.
Apprentices bring with them an enthusiasm and keenness to learn. They bring new ideas and approaches to carrying out work. Over the years, I have often found them to be an inspiration - when you hear that traditional schooling did not suit them or their learning style they sometimes come to us with a belief that they do not have the ability to pass exams or qualifications When you see a young person go from level 2 to level 3 and even higher, when they achieve it gives everyone who works with them ‘a real buzz’. Some apprentices bring a few challenges too, for these we work with them giving guidance and support resulting in great pride when they achieve and go on to have successful careers.
I became as Ambassador as I was asked to by another ambassador who I have known through my learning and Housing for several years. I have been aware of apprenticeships since my youth with family members and friends being apprentices since the late 1970’s. My first role was as a trainee undertaking a similar route to an apprenticeship. I have been a passionate advocate of apprenticeship for over 17 years and have seen many young people have a fantastic start to their careers through apprenticeships.
For society to work, we need to give everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential whether through academic or vocational routes. We need to give people the opportunity to grow at their pace and speed. We need all routes to achievement to be available for all job roles we have as businesses and for many of these the apprenticeship route is the perfect way to achievement. If you feel you are being given the opportunity to achieve you are more likely to be an engaged member of staff – whatever role and sector you work in.