A NEW College apprenticeship student is recommending the route to employment to other people across the town.

Gareth Askins, 20, became an apprentice at Prospect Hospice when the charity increased its finance function in late 2011 and the team there took the step to hire an apprentice through New College to bolster its ranks.

Almost a year on, it’s a decision that has brought mutual benefit to both the charity and Gareth.

Gareth decided when he secured his A-levels that he didn’t see his immediate future at university.

“I felt that I knew where my strengths lay but I couldn’t find a course that would get me to where I wanted to be.

“I was also put off by the thought that I would come away not just with a degree, but also with a great deal of debt,” he said.

Gareth’s decision left him looking for jobs in a decidedly tight employment market.

“I had had a few interviews when I saw that this apprenticeship role was available at Prospect Hospice, and the idea of being able to continue to study while earning appealed to me.

“I liked the idea that I could boost my employability by gaining qualifications and experience, so I just went for it, and I was very pleased to have been offered the post.”

He has now gone on to an Advanced Apprenticeship with Prospect Hospice, and is currently studying towards his Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Level 3, which he hopes to complete later this year.

He is hoping to work for an accountancy firm in the future.

For more information about apprenticeships call Valerie Bateman on 01793 732892 or visit fastforward.newcollege.ac.uk