Success Stories: How Ollie achieved his dream career

Oliver Pound is a bright, enthusiastic young man, full of life and ambition, it’s no wonder he was recently nominated by his employer for Plymouth City Council’s Our Stars Awards.

Ollie, has always been sports orientated, playing for Plymouth Argyle Football Academy for 10 years and taking part in half marathons for charity. He always knew he wanted to pursue a career in sport and liked the idea of combining this with teaching.

After starting his A Levels, Oliver realised it wasn’t the right route for him, although he could gain the knowledge, it was the practical experience he really wanted to benefit from. He applied for an apprenticeship with Skills Group and was put forward for a Sports TA opportunity at Compton Primary School. After a tough interview process he was successfully appointed.

“I lead PE lessons, and have introduced improved activities in before and after School Clubs through brain games and sports activities, to keep the children engaged and re-energised ready for their lessons. I am also involved in the new Netball and Football Academy scheme, I go away on residential trips and take the children to competitions.

I never thought I would love my job so much and be given so many opportunities. It’s rewarding to feel like I am having an impact on the children’s lives, watching them grow and develop and seeing the positive impact of the work I am doing. They talk to me and respond well to my activities – I have even been given cards and presents at the end of term!”

Oliver was nominated for the Our Stars Awards by the Head and Deputy Head Teachers at Compton Primary School, they recognised the commitment and professionalism Ollie has shown throughout the year.

Mr Phillips, Deputy Head Teacher commented, “Ollie is an outstanding young man, he gets stuck into everything he does and has an incredible amount of gumption. He has built a very professional rapport with both his colleagues and the children, who love him.

He grabs every opportunity and has been instrumental in introducing new activities and techniques to keep the children mentally stimulated. Since he has been with us, we have noticed reduced behavioral issues with some of the children through his ability to keep them engaged with sport.

He is outstanding in every area and an invaluable member of the team.”

Ollie has now completed his Level 3 and has successfully secured a permanent position at Compton Primary School as a PE Specialist.

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