Break the trend: Meet our apprenticeship champion Lee Dilley

“A couple of years ago I sat my GCSEs, this year I’m…”

“Working on my Level 2 Carpentry Apprenticeship at AK Carpenters. I didn’t have much of a work ethic at school and I preferred hands-on learning rather than being sat at a desk. I was very open minded about what I wanted to do next so I thought coming in for a Taster Day at Skills Group would be the best way to narrow down my choices. I tried a range of construction trades but carpentry appealed to me the most, as it would also be useful for DIY at home.

“I’m enjoying my apprenticeship and the independence it has given me; I make my own decisions much more often at work compared to school. I’m also saving up for a car with my salary which will increase my independence even more.

“In the future, I’d like to progress onto a Level 3 and then become self-employed. I like the idea of working abroad in Australia using my new skills!”

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