11/12/2013 - Permalink

From apprenticeship to university: a success story

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A 19-year-old from Church Stretton has started to pack his bags to go to university after completing an apprenticeship with a local training provider. 

Since leaving school, Jake Allan has been enrolled on an apprenticeship scheme with County Training.  After two years of gaining vocational qualifications at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury and building essential employment skills, Jake has successfully managed to secure a university place at a prestigious hotel school in Colchester.

In January 2014 Jake will start his foundation degree in hotel management at The Edge Hotel School in Colchester.  The school works in partnership with Essex University to operate Wivenhoe House, an 18th century Essex country house which has been transformed into the UK’s first school-based hotel, known for its high standards and excellent teaching.  Jake will start by studying for his foundation degree in hotel management for 16 months, before moving to complete the full BA (Hons) degree in hotel management.

Jake hasn’t always known which career path to follow.  When he left school at 16, he studied for a qualification in sport, at a local college.  However, he found that the more traditional academic route was not for him.  It was Jake’s parents who first saw the advert for an apprentice to be employed by Theatre Severn; Jake applied for the position and was successful in gaining the apprenticeship.

Jake commented:

“At the age of 16 and finishing school I would never have thought that I would be off to university.  The whole apprenticeship has been an amazing and life-changing experience. Everyone has been so helpful and welcoming throughout.  I’m proud of my achievements so far, and I now can’t wait to start the next chapter of my life.”

Jake’s apprenticeship started out on a fixed-term 12-month contract as a front-of-house assistant, while working towards a Level 2 qualification in food and beverage service.  The apprenticeship route meant that Jake could work towards a real qualification while receiving a weekly wage and learning essential employability skills.  After Jake’s 12-month contract ended (a year during which he impressed his managers), he was offered a full-time position at Theatre Severn, which provided him with the opportunity to progress onto the advanced level apprenticeship (Level 3) in hospitality supervision, with support from his employers.

Whilst completing the Level 3 he quickly took on a lot of responsibility, including being second in command in the kitchen, and also mentoring and supervising new apprentices to Theatre Severn.  Throughout his time at the theatre, Jake has been involved in all aspects of catering, including front-of-house and working alongside experienced chefs in the kitchen.  As an ‘advanced apprentice’, he also had access to a programme of management courses, providing him with an understanding of team leading, communication and how to motivate others in the workplace.

Through his apprenticeship, Jake has gained a huge amount of skills and experience, but most importantly it has given him access to higher education at a university.  Whilst studying at Wivenhoe House, Jake will move around different departments of the hotel, including kitchens and restaurants, working as part of the housekeeping team and organising events and conferences.  This, paired with his time as an apprentice, will help Jake pursue his ultimate dream of starting his own business within the sector.

Ann Hartley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services – transformation and safeguarding, said:-

‘This is an excellent example of how amazing apprenticeships are.  The amount of skills Jake has learnt through his apprenticeship is fantastic, and as Jake is off to university it really does show that you don’t have to follow traditional academic routes to secure yourself a place.  I wish Jake the best of luck through his degree and following career.”

Are you interested in taking on an apprentice?

County Training is part of Shropshire Council and is here to support local businesses.  We are ideally placed to offer expert advice on the recruitment of apprentices, including being able to give you access to hundreds of young people who are currently looking for apprenticeship opportunities, and are able to advise you on which apprenticeship programme would suit your business needs.

County Training make taking on an apprentice easy, offering a free expert support service for employers, to guide you through the whole process.  They also provide ‘Apprenticeships Vacancies’, a free online recruitment tool that matches potential apprentices with your vacancies, and they have a dedicated business support team who will assist you through the apprenticeships process from first enquiry to completion.

Eligible employers may be entitled to a grant of £1,500 to help with apprenticeship wage costs.  If you are unable to recruit new staff, but already employ someone aged 16 or above, then your business can still take advantage of the funding available to train your existing staff.

Alternatively, if you are between 16 and 24 years old and currently seeking an apprenticeship, get in touch.

Call County Training on 0345 678 9023 or email countytraining@shropshire.gov.uk