Break the trend: Meet our apprenticeship champion Melissa Bennett

“A few years ago I Sat My GCSES, this Year I’m…”

“Working on my Level 3 Child Care apprenticeship at Pixieland Stoke.

“I have six younger siblings so already had plenty of child care experience and always knew I wanted to start a career in this area. I completed my Level 2 at Pixieland and am now continuing onto my Level 3.

“My day to day routine is very varied as I work in all of the different rooms, such as the Baby Room and Pre-School Room. My activities include setting up the areas and activities for the children, making sure that they are age appropriate and that the children are safe. I also meet the families and form bonds with them; we work with parents closely so that they are involved in their child’s experience at the nursery. I work full time and I enjoy every minute as the variety of the work means it doesn’t get boring.

“Since starting here, I’m most proud of being nominated as Employee of the Month, as it shows how much my confidence has grown. When I first began working at the nursery, I was really nervous, but the teams at Pixieland and Skills Group have helped me with my anxiety. The fact that there are other apprentices both at work and at Skills Group is also nice, as it makes you feel more supported as there are other people in the same situation as you.

“I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship as it gives you so much experience; you work with the children every day. My advice to someone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be to stay calm and work hard. I’d also say get your coursework done straight away and don’t be afraid to ask your Manager or Assessor at Skills Group for help if you need it.”

I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!

Jaimee Benson, Level 2 Hairdressing

I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!

Will Birch, Level 2 Bricklaying

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up

Sam Collard, Level 2 Light Vehicle and Maintenance Repair

The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.

Ben Freeman, Level 2 Carpentry

I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!

Luke Kowalski, Teaching Assistant and former apprentice at Sir Robert Gefferys School