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News: Appren­tices get ahead

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Archway Learning Trust

Archway Learning Trust, which is made up of three secondary schools and a primary school plus post-16 provision, uses apprenticeships to grow and develop its staff.

The Trust has been work­ing with the Col­lege for the last few years, and at the moment they have 12 appren­tices work­ing for them, who are com­plet­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions across a diverse range of roles.

From teach­ing assis­tants to IT engi­neers, and from design & tech­nol­o­gy tech­ni­cians to youth work­ers, Arch­way Learn­ing Trust offers appren­tice­ships across the organ­i­sa­tion. Appren­tices com­plete a qual­i­fi­ca­tion along­side their stud­ies and receive a wage, with many going on to a high­er lev­el appren­tice­ship or gain­ing per­ma­nent roles at the Trust once they qualify.

We spoke to some of their cur­rent and for­mer apprentices. 

Alex Carr, Appren­tice IT Engineer

21-year-old Alex had been unem­ployed for six months when he came across an IT Engi­neer appren­tice­ship vacan­cy at Arch­way Learn­ing Trust. He applied through Cen­tral Col­lege Not­ting­ham and was offered a place to start work in Sep­tem­ber last year. He’s now get­ting close to com­plet­ing his NVQ Lev­el 2 Diplo­ma in IT Support.

Alex Carr It
Alex hard at work

Dur­ing my appren­tice­ship I’ve been assist­ing the team that sup­ports the whole acad­e­my net­work of PCs and infra­struc­ture. I work with teach­ers need­ing sup­port with class­room PCs or lap­tops, and when­ev­er we get con­tract­ed sup­port I work with the con­tract engineers. 

I’ve been in the work­place full-time and an asses­sor from the Col­lege comes out to see me at work. He knows his stuff and I can ask ques­tions as often as need­ed. He’s also good at assess­ing in alter­nate ways, instead of just rely­ing on writ­ten work. It’s use­ful for peo­ple like me who didn’t get on very well with A Lev­els and full-time col­lege – it’s good to have an alter­na­tive assess­ment method. The team I work with at the acad­e­my are also supportive. 

The com­bi­na­tion of both hands-on prac­ti­cal skills and the qual­i­fi­ca­tion will be use­ful for me in the future. The qual­i­fi­ca­tion says I’ve learnt the specifics obvi­ous­ly, but I think the real job expe­ri­ence will prob­a­bly help more, for me at least, when look­ing for jobs in the future. 

I think a decent tech­ni­cal appren­tice­ship can real­ly set you up to get a bet­ter job, even­tu­al­ly going on to earn more mon­ey and com­plete more pro­fes­sion­al qualifications. 

 — Alex Carr, appren­tice IT engineer

Jade Rus­sell, Cater­ing Assis­tant and now Junior Chef

Mum-of-one Jade Rus­sell applied for an appren­tice­ship at Arch­way Learn­ing Trust with the Col­lege to get her­self back into work and train­ing, and has since used the qual­i­fi­ca­tion to secure both a per­ma­nent role and a pro­mo­tion at the Trust.

26-year-old Jade has recent­ly been pro­mot­ed to Junior Chef, after her man­ag­er spot­ted her poten­tial dur­ing her Lev­el 2 Cater­ing and Hos­pi­tal­i­ty appren­tice­ship, and then helped her build her skills as a cater­ing assis­tant at Blue­coat Acad­e­my on Asp­ley Lane. 

Student smiling whilst holding a mop in the kitchen
Jade Russell, Junior Chef

I was 24 when I start­ed my appren­tice­ship and it was daunt­ing going back to work at the age I was as a mum. But my advice to peo­ple would be to just go for it! I had thought it would just help me get back to work quick­er, but now I’ve got a qual­i­fi­ca­tion and a per­ma­nent job out of it! 

Before I start­ed my appren­tice­ship I expect­ed it to be most­ly study­ing, but actu­al­ly it’s more about on-the-job learn­ing. So I think get­ting your col­lege work done isn’t as hard as peo­ple might think, as you do train a lot on the job and learn as you go along. 

My men­tor at the Col­lege, Lisa, was real­ly nice and real­ly help­ful. I could con­tact her and ask ques­tions if I was ever strug­gling with anything. 

Every­one at work is real­ly nice and I’ve had lots of peo­ple work­ing with me to show me things and make my job eas­i­er. The Chef has been train­ing me up, even above and beyond my role to help me in devel­op­ing my skills. To be hon­est at the end of the appren­tice­ship I had thought that would be it, but then I was offered a per­ma­nent job there which was great. 

I stud­ied maths and Eng­lish Func­tion­al Skills as part of the qual­i­fi­ca­tion. At first I didn’t real­ly want to have to study those sub­jects, but actu­al­ly it was nice to have a refresh­er, and in my job for exam­ple I do han­dle mon­ey, so it’s been useful. 

 — Jade Rus­sell, Junior Chef

Adam Stew­art is anoth­er appren­tice suc­cess sto­ry for Arch­way Learn­ing Trust. After com­plet­ing a teach­ing assis­tant (TA) appren­tice­ship there, he has now secured a per­ma­nent TA role at the Trust.

Adam Stewart Talscape
Adam Stewart, Teaching Assistant

I chose an appren­tice­ship over a uni­ver­si­ty degree because I pre­fer the hands-on approach, rather than just study­ing from books every day. Although there is some study­ing to be done, I feel like I’ve learned so much more by work­ing than I would if I was just study­ing full-time. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first start­ed, as I’d done A Lev­els and just been taught in the tra­di­tion­al way with lessons. How­ev­er, I found out that the good thing about appren­tice­ships is you get the free­dom to do the work to a dead­line, but in your own time when it best suits you. I think if you feel you’ve had enough of the sort of learn­ing you get with A Lev­els, an appren­tice­ship could give you a com­plete­ly fresh start in the learn­ing process. 

Dur­ing my appren­tice­ship I was work­ing full-time in the class­room on a one-to-one basis with a child with spe­cial edu­ca­tion­al needs. I had a men­tor from the Col­lege who checked on my work and how I was get­ting on. They were real­ly good and very sup­port­ive – lit­er­al­ly just an email away. 

I think Arch­way Learn­ing Trust is a good choice if you want an appren­tice­ship. Their atti­tude towards appren­tices is real­ly good. In my expe­ri­ence, you are treat­ed like any mem­ber of staff, which means you get ful­ly involved with the chil­dren and get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to active­ly help them. 

The best bit about my job is def­i­nite­ly work­ing with the chil­dren – every child is com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent and no day in a pri­ma­ry school is ever the same! I get along real­ly well with every­one and it’s a good team. 

From my expe­ri­ence I would say peo­ple should def­i­nite­ly take a good look into appren­tice­ships. It’s def­i­nite­ly some­thing I nev­er con­sid­ered ini­tial­ly, and now I think it’s a real­ly good way of get­ting into indus­tries and jobs. 

 — Adam Stew­art, Teach­ing Assistant
Published on:
  • 16th August 2017 (3:34 PM)
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