APPRENTICESHIPS are in the spotlight at New College this week.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, the college is running several campaigns and initiatives highlighting the skill development benefits and career opportunities that a practical placement in a real workplace can bring.

A few of the college’s current apprenticeships talked about their experiences and recommended that others give them a go.

Level 3 business administration apprentice at Poplars Day Care Nursery and Pre-School Marie Bradley said: “Doing this apprenticeship has given me a chance to further my career within the organisation and industry that I am comfortable in and already have knowledge about. An apprenticeship gives you an opportunity to earn money, while you better yourself and gain a qualification.”

She had already been working at the nursery for seven years but saw that a new position for an apprentice had been advertised.

Marie added: “I wanted to apply to further my career. I had some experience doing admin through my sister’s business, but wanted to expand my knowledge professionally and an apprenticeship seemed like the best way to do this.”

Laura Rossi took a similar apprenticeship at the college where she studied and works as a marketing assistant.

She said: ““If you had asked me five years ago, I wouldn’t have even considered an apprenticeship because I believed all of the myths surrounding them, including low pay and there being only manual labour jobs.

“I have definitely been proven wrong and I don’t want anyone making the same judgements that I did! Before doing the apprenticeship, I had no experience within the marketing sector or even an office environment. I have had many opportunities along the way.

“If I hadn’t done the apprenticeship, I don’t think I’d be working in the marketing sector now because I just wouldn’t have had the qualifications or experience.

“I think apprenticeships are amazing because you can get free qualifications up to degree level with no student debt, as well as, experience, new skills and you actually get paid to do it. My advice to somebody considering an apprenticeship is to do the research; it’s important to look at all of the options before making a decision.”

Cameron Rodrigues is completing a Level 4 software development apprenticeship as a software tester at the National Trust, a field where he hopes to continue in a permanent role.

He said: “I decided quite early on that I didn’t want to go to uni. I have friends who had done apprenticeships and they recommended it to me and suggested that work experience is just as valuable as qualifications, so being able to get both at once is great.

“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship, My work place is also a really calm and flexible environment, plua there are great opportunities too, such as allocated days in the year for volunteering if we want to.”

“I may be biased, but if anyone if considering an apprenticeship, I would say just go for it. The experience you gain is invaluable.”

Calum Marsh and Shelby Blane are both partway through Level 4 AAT accounting apprenticeships at Travelport.

Shelby said: “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship, it gives me great workplace experience, alongside studying at College, where the staff are really supportive and helpful. It’s a great starting point when entering the world of work and you get paid to study.”

Calum said: “I would highly recommend an apprenticeship to others. It’s a great chance to study and gain valuable experience. In my current role, my responsibilities are increasing, which means I get the opportunity to be involved in more exciting projects! The resources and the staff at New College are great – overall my experience has been excellent.”