Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2024: hear from our apprentices and their employers!
Level 3 Apprenticeship in Electrical Installation
“I find that an apprenticeship allows you to learn on the job and gain experience which betters your employability chances after you complete the apprenticeship and, you get paid whilst doing it! For me moving to a Level 3 apprenticeship in Electrical Installation was a natural progression from my previous Level 2 course.
My apprenticeship has been going very well, the work is varied and provides me with good learning opportunities.
My typical work day starts at 7.30am, I receive a daily brief to discuss what needs doing for the day which is a mix of working with the team and individually. Although no two days are the same, at times some jobs require similar work over a few days and at other times I get to test my skills on a variety of jobs. A highlight for me is getting to meet new people and working in different and interesting places from hospitals to luxury hotels.
Once I complete my apprenticeship, I’m hoping to explore new opportunities, maybe even starting a company of my own.
To anyone considering an apprenticeship, I’d say go for it! It opens more doors and gives you true working experience.”
Katey's House Nursery, Director
“I feel an Early Years apprenticeship in our nursery offers invaluable benefits for aspiring childcare professionals. It provides hands-on experience in a nurturing environment, the opportunity to learn from seasoned educators, and the chance to develop practical skills in early childhood care and education. Apprentices gain insight into child development, behaviour management, and effective teaching methods, preparing them for a rewarding career in childcare. This immersive learning experience fosters confidence, competence, and a deep understanding of the joys and challenges of working with young children, laying a strong foundation for their professional journey.”
Health Play Specialist Apprentice
“I chose to the apprenticeship route to fund my Foundation Degree in Health Play Specialism. The apprenticeship runs alongside the Foundation Degree which is ideal. It has been a huge benefit for me personally and to the NHS Trust I’m employed with.
I have successfully completed the apprenticeship and felt it went well. I have many highlights, from getting accepted onto the course, completing the degree and portfolios, to the experience of working alongside my mentor. A particular highlight was the experience of the End Point Assessment Day, as it allowed me to consolidate my learning and made me realise how much I had grown in confidence throughout the apprenticeship. I especially welcomed the support from one of the course assessors who was very knowledgeable.
My placement was brilliant and my mentor was really good at encouraging me to develop. I loved being able to try things and explore different skills safely knowing that I was being supervised and supported constructively. I made lots of contacts and got a good understanding of the difference in all the Health Play Specialist roles in community, hospice and hospital settings where the same skills are being used for very different purposes and in very different ways.
I’m currently working full time as a Health Play Specialist with the community nurses. I’ve applied for a Band 5 role within the team and if successful, we will be recruiting further play staff and I hope to be able to mentor them through the Degree, potentially as an apprentice.”
Elite Electrical Contracting Ltd, Business Support and Development Manager
“We find that having apprentices is a massive benefit to our business, it helps us to keep building and upskilling our team. Over the years we’ve had over 49 apprentice electricians who have successfully qualified and continue to progress in their careers. In fact, 11 are part of our management team at Elite Electrical. The majority of our apprentices are trained at Nescot where the tutors and assessors are amongst the best. If you’re willing to put the time, effort and commitment, apprenticeships can lead to rewarding careers. I would highly recommend hiring apprentices, it’s definitely worth it!"
Continental Landscapes Executive Director
Billy writes about apprenticeships in the horticulture sector.
"We offer apprenticeships to local people from the contract areas that we work. This provides opportunities for candidates to make a difference in their own communities, improving and developing the green spaces within their own neighbourhoods.
All of our apprentices make an impact, whether it is in their local communities, for their families, within their local work teams or to our business.
Our experience of working with Nescot has been a positive one. The apprenticeship team are extremely helpful and understanding."
Read Billy's full blog here
QHS Business Manager
Why apprenticeships are fundamental to QHS's business
“For us, employing apprentices is how we ensure our business grows organically and thrives. Our contracts give the apprentices a wide range of experience. They are not just learning varied plumbing skills, they are picking up the ethos and identity of our business. They represent the company, so we make sure know how to speak to our customers as well as do the on-site work.”
“We’ve had great success with Nescot. Our experience with the college shows us we can trust in the skills that the apprentices are developing. And we are aware of the curriculum, making sure they have the opportunity to put everything they learn into practice.”
“Our relationship with the College is fundamental to what we’re trying to achieve. Investing time in younger staff is not just the right thing to do, it’s the only way to ensure you are regenerating for the future.”
Health Play Specialist Apprentice
“After a successful year on the Foundation Degree at Nescot, I had the opportunity to gain employment in my local children's hospital, who are now supporting my training through the apprentice Health Play Specialist route. The Apprenticeship runs alongside the Foundation Degree so I can stay in the same class. It has all worked out – now I have time for a job I really enjoy, time to study, and time to have a life.
There are so many things I love about this role. We were dealing with an autistic girl who needed to come into the hospital for a procedure– fear had prevented her from doing so before, but by developing a trusting relationship beforehand, I managed to get her in, and the outcome was successful.”
The flexibility of learning is what is great about this apprenticeship. I get paid and know I’ve got a career at the end of it.
Next year I plan to continue my studies by doing the BA Top-Up Professional Practice Working with Children and Young People, also through Nescot. It’s exciting to be on a real career path in a job you love.”
Level 5 Apprenticeship in Operations Management
“I’ve only been doing my apprenticeship for a few months, but I can already see a lot of changes to my work and my behaviour. I’ve got a lot more self-confidence and self-belief, and I'm more motivated. The course is helping me to understand the business context around me, and through that knowledge I’ve already been able to start making positive changes for my team and the organisation as a whole. It’s giving me the belief in myself that I can effect change, and that’s powerful.
“The structure of the course is well thought-out, and the teaching is great. We do one lesson and one assignment per month, and we get a set of resources to work through. The tutor is great at explaining things, and she always encourages us to relate what we’re learning back to what we’re doing at work and to put it into practice straight away. It’s rewarding to be able to learn a theory, apply it, and see genuine results for my team.
“I hope my experience shows people how versatile apprenticeships are. They’re great for people at the start of a new career, but apprenticeships are just as useful for people who are already in a career and want to progress to the next level. There’s a huge range of subjects and levels, so there’s something for everyone. To anyone thinking about doing an apprenticeship, I’d say: you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Operations and Nursery Manager at Nonsuch Park Forest School
“We love having apprentices, because it’s a great way of continuing to improve our collective skills and expertise. Our apprentices can learn from the expertise of our experienced colleagues, and the whole team benefits from keeping up to date on the latest early years theories and principles. We see apprenticeships as a long-term way of developing staff. We can nurture and mentor our new apprentices, and mold them to fit our ethos, and we can also upskill existing staff too. We’ve been working with Nescot for six years, and we really value their support. We’re in regular contact with the team, and they’re always at the end of the phone when we need them.
“There’s a gap in the market for qualified practitioners in Early Years, so we’re glad to be encouraging new staff into the sector. There is no better job than to be with the children’s smiling faces every day, and it’s so rewarding to be working with these young children who are full of curiosity and hungry to learn. If you’re thinking about starting a career in the Early Years sector then I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship. It’s a great way to get practical experience and getting the underpinning knowledge at the same time.”
Innovation Salon, Ewell
Ashleigh, who has Down Syndrome, is a customer service apprentice at Innovation salon in Ewell. She had previous experience of working in Innovation as an Intern, and then under the Kickstart training scheme. When that ended, both Ashleigh and her manager jumped at the chance to get her onto an Apprenticeship programme.
“This apprenticeship is pushing my skills on,” says Ashleigh. “I’m recording bookings and customer details, doing meet-and-greet and helping stylists get ready for treatments, for example by preparing foils. I get more confident all the time.”
Salon Manger Pat Dennis adds,
“Having a diverse team, including Ashleigh as an apprentice, is great for our business. The customers love seeing her here and she is a really good sales assistant. With the training she’s had now she can do so many jobs to help keep the salon running – it’s been great seeing her journey.”
IT and Facilities Director at Supermassive Games Ltd
"I’ve been working with apprentices for ten years now, and I’d definitely recommend it. Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for someone taking their first step in an industry. They’re also a great way for companies to find new talent, new ideas, and to grow their business. Supermassive Games is growing exponentially, and our apprentices are a key part of that. I’m recruiting an apprentice at the moment, and as always my priority is finding someone with a great attitude. You can always teach someone new technical skills if they are positive, hard-working and interested in people.
The biggest misconception about IT is thinking that it’s all about computers. It isn’t; it’s all about people – listening, understanding people’s problems, and finding solutions for them. It might sound trite, but no two days are the same, and that’s one of the things I love about the industry.
For someone who is thinking about hiring their company’s first apprentice, I would say: It isn’t as complicated as you think. There’s lots of information and support out there, especially from colleges like Nescot. We get a lot of support from Nescot, and they also do a great job supporting our apprentices, too."