Success Stories: Luke Kowalski, Level 3 Teaching Assistant

We caught up with Luke Kowalski who has finished his Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship at Sir Robert Geffery’s School – the same school he once attended! Luke has now embarked on a Primary teaching degree at Plymouth Marjon University with the exciting goal of becoming a qualified teacher.

“The apprenticeship was great for preparing me for the university programme, as I began the degree armed with a wide range of practical experience. Many of the other students on my programme have had limited hands-on experience, so it puts me a step ahead. Completing the apprenticeship also means I know exactly what teaching entails – I’ve started the degree 100% certain that I want to be a teacher.

“I really enjoyed the apprenticeship at Sir Robert Geffery’s. There were nine apprentices in total, so we were able to support and help each other. An apprenticeship definitely throws you in at the deep end, but it’s worth it for all the experience you develop. I was involved in a huge range of tasks at the school, such as preparing resources for lessons, supporting SEN pupils, and organising enrichment activities. In addition to this, I implemented an intervention programme called “Funky Fingers” which aimed to help pupils improve their motor skills through finger activities, which the school has now decided to continue!

“I am very grateful to the team at Sir Robert Geffery’s for supporting me – especially my class teacher. The team at Skills Group was also brilliant; the staff provided me with the most invaluable experience and feedback which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work they do for young people is incredible!

“Apprenticeships have huge benefits including qualifications, hands-on experience and pay – I would definitely recommend them! My advice to others thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be to be adaptable, flexible and willing to embrace change.”

I just wanted to say the biggest thank you to Vanessa, my trainer. You have made my journey so much easier, I don’t know what I would have done without you. You have been amazing and helped me to achieve my qualification. You’ve guided me through every step of the way, I really appreciate it, Vanessa, you have been my rock.

Katie Shorland, Level 2 Hairdressing

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