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Helping apprentices progress into Higher Education

Richard Dyson

Case Study: Apprentice

I went to Kettlethorpe High School in Wakefield, where I gained 11 GCSEs in total with 9 at A and A*. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a career and didn’t get much guidance while I was at school.

“Then I saw an advert for apprentices with Wakefield Council and became interested in the training opportunities that were available. They had several hundred people apply but I was fortunate to gain one of the positions available, working in the building services division.”

My dad has his own business in electrical contracting and although it sounded interesting, the thought of doing the hours that he worked wasn’t appealing.

As I had always been good at maths, I decided to study for A levels in related subjects such as Accountancy and Business Studies at Barnsley College. During the first year, while I was studying for my AS levels, I began to get disillusioned - I wasn’t too happy being in a classroom environment and so started looking to see what other opportunities for progression there were.

Then I saw an advert for apprentices with Wakefield Council and became interested in the training opportunities that were available. They had several hundred people apply but I was fortunate to gain one of the positions available, working in the building services division.

At the interview I was told that they encouraged their apprentices to go on to get higher level qualifications like HNCs, this appealed to me as I did still want to further my education and gain good qualifications.

I started at the Council’s depot in Normanton. They wanted me to find out about different jobs, so I started in the heating department before being moved into the building services department - quantity surveying and estimating.

Their portfolio of work includes revamping council property, including schools and public buildings and my job involves estimating the cost of such work and monitoring finances throughout the construction phase.

I enjoyed it so much that when asked to remain in the department I was happy to stay and train to become a building technician, developing my skills in quantity surveying, estimating and project management.

I went to Leeds College of Building to do my ONC qualification and, although I should have gone onto the HNC programme, I asked to start on the HND in Building Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University.

It’s a three year part-time programme and I’ve now completed my first year. I am also completing my NVQ3 as part of my Advanced Apprenticeship programme, and I will be looking to finish my portfolio within the coming year to achieve that.

Upon completing my HND, I want to go on to do either a Project Management or Construction Management Degree course, if the Council will support me.

So, after a false start at College I’ve now found a job that I enjoy and am on my way to getting a good qualification as well as gaining valuable working experience.

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