Apprentices at the ready as National Apprenticeship Week gets underway

Published: 6th Mar 2018

CURRENT and former council apprentices will be spreading the benefits of doing an apprenticeship as National Apprenticeship Week gets set to start on Monday 5 March.

Throughout the week, apprentices will be taking part in a number of events including the Tees Valley Challenge which sees apprentices from all five local authorities come together to battle in a series of 'It's a Knockout' style events.

Apprenticeships are a great alternative to further studying, and the experience picked up in the work place can benefit people in the future. One person who has got full-time work at the council after starting as an apprentice is Kieran Stirzaker.

Kieran, who works as a Business Support Officer in the Workforce Development Team, started as a Business Admin Apprentice in the Families Information Service in 2016.

He said: "The wide range of tasks and opportunities to develop within the Workforce Development Team provided me with an excellent skill set and a huge confidence boost to set me up for permanent employment.

"All of these factors prepared me more for employment than I even realised myself! I surprised myself during the interview and application process as I didnt quite realise how much my time in my apprenticeship had developed me as an Individual."

As well as working in the office, Kieran like all the council apprentices spent time at college studying for related qualifications. Kieran studied for Level 2 and 3 NVQs in Business Administration.

Kieran added: "It has provided me with excellent background knowledge on business and administration duties to easily transfer into my role. It also gave me an opportunity to meet friends and colleagues who are also apprentices and make a name for myself within the authority."

His advice for anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship? "I would strongly recommend taking the opportunity even if you figure out its not quite for you. The experience, confidence boost and a recognised qualification at the end of the programme provide a solid foundation for employment even if you change your mind further down the line."

A current apprentice who echoes that view is 17-year-old Hannah Mothersill. Hannah works in Business Support at the Redcar Coast Childrens Centre, and also does NVQs in IT and Business Admin.

She said: "I decided to do an apprenticeship because I wanted to go into a job after I left school and I went to college for a week but didnt like it. I knew college wasn't for me straight away and I had been applying for apprenticeships for a few months after finishing school. I saw this job at the council and it really appealed to me.

"I would encourage anyone thinking of applying to become an apprentice to go for it! Sometimes people think it is scary to go straight into a job after leaving school, but it's the best thing I've done I love it. It gives me a real independence and its helped me with things like learning to drive."

Cllr Craig Hannaway, Cabinet Member for Children and Skills, said: "Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to learn on the job and gain skills they might not otherwise have achieved. Hearing about Hannah and Kierans experiences of their apprenticeships is proof that this is a good path for young people to go down.

"I would encourage anyone who is unsure of what they might want to do in the future to seriously consider an apprenticeship there are apprenticeships in almost every department in the council, from IT to highways and in Childrens Centres."

To find out more about apprenticeships at the council, go to Keep track of National Apprenticeship Week activities on social media by following the hashtag #NAW2018.

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