On Monday 1st July we were delighted to welcome back three Herschel alumni to help us run a session with all of Year 12 students on apprenticeships. Following an introduction from Mr Wilkins, summarising the basic of apprenticeships (including how they work, the different levels and the huge variety of opportunities available) each of our former students spoke about their current roles and their pathways to those roles.
Manya Mathur is in the first year of a Level 7 apprenticeship in audit with Deloitte, and spoke about the way in which she is now dealing with major company clients, less than a year after leaving Herschel’s sixth form, alongside studying for her accountancy qualifications – all fully funded by the company, of course. Matt Halls explained that he had started with a lower level apprenticeship in network engineering via QA Apprenticeships, a training provider based in Slough, then progressed into a sales course. He is now working for Cisco in Bedfont and will shortly be starting a funded university degree programme with the company. And Shajee Butt is now Group Finance Manager for Norsk-Global – he spoke about how much support he had received from colleagues and training providers at all levels of his education.
What was striking from all three guests was that they didn’t regret their pathway choices at all – Matt answered a question about whether he felt that he had missed out on some key personal development opportunities by not going to university by saying that he had been developed in a wide range of ways in the world of work that he just didn’t see happening in other ways. Manya added that she sometimes feels a little left out when all of her old friends are meeting up in their long university holidays while she is at work, but said that there were lots of benefits and pluses to outweigh that too!
So, in summary – apprenticeships are often challenging, usually competitive and not for everyone, but they can also be cost-effective, great fun and incredible routes to full employment. Certainly lots to think about for our Year 12 students as they work on UCAS applications and consider their future options – never rule anything out!