When I was in the last year of my GCSE exams, the government introduced a new law stating all school leavers had to remain in education until the age of 18. This meant students either had to go on to college, university or take on an apprenticeship after completing year 11 of school.
I did not want to stay in education and I definitely didn’t want to pay to go to University. So, I applied to the RAF but didn’t pass the medical because of my asthma. Wondering what to do and really not enjoying the thought of going back to a school environment, my mum found an apprenticeship position with the Fortec Distribution Network studying a Business Administration Level 2 qualification.
With a timescale of 12 months to complete my course, I finished way ahead of schedule, which meant that by this point I was still only 17 and required by law to continue my education. So, I started a second apprenticeship, a Customer Services Level 3 NVQ,
Looking back, I am so proud of how far I have come. At the start, I was getting to work on my moped, which at the time I thought was really embarrassing. Now, four years on I am driving my own car and hold a Class 2 HGV license. I passed my driving test 17 days after my 17th birthday!
The skills I have learnt through my apprenticeship far excel what I could have learnt at the same time spent at college or university. Being able to apply my self-initiative and learn all of the roles within member support proved my worth and commitment to Fortec. After the successful completion of my level 3 and some hard graft, I began assisting our member trainer out on the road visiting depots and ensuring everything was running as it should be.
When you study as an apprentice you hit-the-ground-running and implement all the practical skills you learn along the way whilst studying them in theory. I don’t feel that studying in a college or university would have offered me anywhere near as many practical skills to prepare me for my future career.
I excelled in this and a year after finishing my training I was offered a unique and hybridised role in Fortec – Network Services and Trainer. The speed and reward of my professional development had no negative impact on my hobbies and interests outside of work. The independence felt great and the responsibility of handling my money from a younger age has matured me, I feel financially prepared for adult life.
In my four years here I have gone from strength to strength and excelled in the roles and opportunities given. Fortec is a great company to work for that feels like a home from home for me and I feel incredibly fortunate to have found such a great career ahead of me.
If you are looking for an apprenticeship check out the Gov.uk website by clicking here.