Totton College are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week!
We are taking part in National Apprenticeship Week 2021, highlighting the importance for apprenticeships on both young people and businesses and the benefits that come with them. We interviewed some of our apprentices and some of the companies that take them on to highlight just how great they are.
Tia-Louise Currie – Business Administration Apprentice
I’m a lot older than normal apprentices, I’m 23 this year. I did two years at college when I finished school, then straight into full-time work at a takeaway chain.
I studied photography and media at college, I really enjoyed it but never enough to make a career. When I got a promotion, I worked in the position for 6 months. Unfortunately, the manager and I didn’t quite see eye-to-eye.
Then I thought about apprenticeships, and that’s why I chose to do one in Business Administration. I became the apprentice within the apprenticeship department at Totton College (which is hard and confusing to say!) but it was amazing.
I was much older than the other apprentices, and love to get on with things and hate being bored. Luckily, they trusted me in tasks most others wouldn’t get to do, and I got to develop a lot in the position. I was awarded a promotion while I was doing my apprenticeship, progressing to finance and data management among other things, and then they built my job around me, for me and my skills.
While lots of colleges offer business admin, Totton offered jobs within the department and taught me what I wanted to do. They built the course in a different way to other places, where otherwise it was quite generic. Totton were doing something different. I was definitely supported by Totton, being employed and trained by them it felt like an advantage.
It gave me a view of both sides. I got to implement my own systems and things, which was amazing. It means I really knew them! It gave me another chance. I felt like when I finished college before, I didn’t do anything with my grades or qualifications.
It’s been completely remarkable for me… I got to spread my wings so quickly. I absolutely loved it. Having an apprenticeship has opened up so many doors for me.
Megan Goy – Childcare Course
I am 18 years old, turning 19 in March, and the eldest of three daughters. I’ve been working at my job for 2 years now, coming up to 3, and I love it!
I did enjoy school, but struggled with a few subjects. I especially enjoyed my health and social care and dance lessons. With my new love for health and social care, I have always wanted to work with children. That helped me to pursue my career. I wanted to find a course that allowed me to learn as well as work to gain first-hand experience, in order to get qualifications for the job.
I saw that Totton College was starting a childcare course, I was more than happy to start my next course there. It also helps as it is 10 minutes down the road from where I live! I love my apprenticeship because my college classes are really supportive and friendly, with the best assessor and peers around me – along with being able to work at the setting I am at, which is a great outdoor preschool.
The support I get from Totton College is great. My assessor always will respond quickly if I ever have any questions or worries. My employer has always made sure I’m ok with my job, hours, pay and how I am doing, especially through the pandemic.
It has helped with my career by being able to mix with peers, discussing how they do their job and any tips we can share between us to help each other. As well as helping me get childcare qualifications which can further my career.
Sophie Small – Supply Chain Operator Apprenticeship (Level 2)
I’ve always enjoyed learning, whether that was in a classroom or learning on the job. I have 9 horses who keep me busy and my dream when I was younger was to work with them.
I went to college and university to study equine science so I could further my career and work with the animals I love. There was a job opening at Onecom and I’ve been learning the role ever since. I enjoy the warehouse environment, while working with systems, you’re still on your feet and moving which keeps me and my colleagues active. The opportunity arose and many aspects of an apprenticeship matched what I do during my day job, so I thought it was the perfect chance to gain a qualification and add another string to my bow.
There were many courses available at Totton College even after the Level 2 so I thought if I enjoy the first one (Level 2) I can keep progressing and learning more. The apprenticeship was really interesting, and my tutor was amazing! The support provided was incredible, at any time Lisa was available to help and guide our group. I really enjoyed the apprenticeship and would recommend it to everyone who is thinking of continuing their learning and development.
Totton College provided so much support the whole time, not just during the pandemic. My manager was furloughed, then made redundant, meaning there wasn’t much support for me within the role at that time. However, a new manager has since stepped in and supported me through the rest of my apprenticeship.
This apprenticeship has benefited my career definitely! It has provided a baseline, meaning I can keep learning and progressing at my own pace whilst continuing to work and enjoy my job.
Lynette – Business Professional
I used to be a teacher, I loved teaching and I wanted home-grown staff who I didn’t have to retrain. I wanted to take people right from the start. Every member of my staff has been an apprentice. It’s a way to make sure I always have good staff with a great skillset. I have a lot of input because they can reflect what they learn in the setting.
I can research around things the apprentices are learning and legislation-wise, I am researching and learning from them as well. It helps keep me up to date. They need to know their stuff by the time it comes to the assessment and communicate it for the end-point assessment, and I think it’s such a good way of helping young people develop communication skills.
Taking on apprentices is not new for me. Totton College have been great. They really do everything for you, and I trust their judgement. They will tell me something straight if it isn’t going to work. It’s a great partnership. Totton match the setting to the apprentice; they know the type of student we need for the job.
Hiring an apprentice
I absolutely love it. From interview, they are brand new and right away, after years of building skills, they really trust you and it’s a privilege. It keeps a team alive – they can be shy, and the team really nurture them. I wouldn’t want it any other way. They get the theory somewhere else and see how we treat that theory here. Because apprentices are so much younger, they know what it is like to be a kid, they know what the struggles are for the kids, they can really relate to them.
Outside of where we are, people think you employ apprentices for cheap workers. This is training, it’s paid, and we are doing to this to give them a proper job. We have staff with degrees that left school with no GCSE’s, we give them career progression. They don’t realise you can get to that level, but we can help them.
I think some parents don’t see it as equal to college, but it’s learning and earning, it gives young people self-esteem and helps them grow and realise their potential.
You can choose what training they have, so it works for you. Apprentices are ready to learn. It’s a partnership; not just for us. It’s a triangle, us, college, the learner; you’re not on your own.
There’s backup for everyone, someone else to ask, someone else to learn from. It is the best way to hire people. If I’m not sure about something, I can check it out and research it with the college and the other way around. The learner has two places to go if they have a problem. It’s a great partnership, you’re not alone.
As an employer it can feel like you’re alone in what you’re doing with hiring and training, but that’s not the case here. You can bounce ideas around as well and grow. It’s a good thing.
Deborah Weatherell – HR Dept – Solent
I am the owner of company called Solent which operates as an HR Consultancy service across the Solent region. I have a degree in Business, master’s in human resources and am a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development with over 25 years’ experience in Director level roles in International Corporates prior to starting my business.
By taking on apprentices it allows me to coach and mould the apprentice in desirable behaviours and skills to ensure they meet the high standards of my business. In time we see the return on investment and the added value.
Totton College were very supportive when it came to hiring and training although we are already highly skilled in this area as part of our own expertise. I hope to bring in another apprentice as soon as restrictions lift!
Sarah Bennett – Salon Owner
I’ve owned the salon since 2017, and every one of our stylists is part of our ethos and team, we all work to the same standard. Every member of the team is trained to Colour degree level or technician level in top brands across the world.
I believe that in the next generation, there will be a skills shortage of hairdressers working in salons. There will be a shortfall and if we don’t take on apprentices, the next generation won’t come through. I believe in apprenticeships, it’s a good blend for learning in college and in salon.
I get the levy and that’s really helpful towards training. It gives me money to help train, give them equipment and send them on courses.
Having apprentices is amazing, it makes us all look at our own skills, reflect on our practices and get us up to scratch. It’s so good to have them in salon because they get to understand both, the training and the social skills, the problem solving, punctuality, customer service.
All the extras that people don’t think about when it comes to hiring someone. You can’t always teach these things in a college environment.
I’ll definitely hire more, it’s a great way of hiring people and making sure they are a part of your team, it’s also really nice to give other members of my team the chance to be mentors.
Thanks for reading our blog on National Apprenticeship Week. For more information about the apprenticeships we offer, or if you are interested in taking on one of our apprentices please visit the links, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 023 8087 4874.