12 years ago, I achieved my GCSE’s with strong grades, A and above. I had applied myself and was proud of my achievements and despite attending what you would call a dysfunctional school I earned a place on the school’s ‘gifted and talented’ scheme. This gave a handful of us the opportunity to visit Cambridge University and experience the big, bold and exciting world of student life ahead of us. As aspiring sixth-formers, we felt we were mixing with the highest echelons of society; sharing lunch buffets in a mahogany clad hall whilst overlooked by a variety of stern-faced marble busts.
But one small problem – It just wasn’t for me. The student debt, cost of living and a lack of correlation between subjects studied and careers available after university didn’t appeal. I am a kinaesthetic learner so I did the research and decided a work-based Diploma was the right choice for me.
I did try sixth-form for a short while. But I just felt my time could be better spent learning and earning. Apprenticeships only paid £75 a week back then, but it suited me better than cramming in days of studying alongside working a night shift in a job I might not like.
So, I took my Equine Level 2 and 3 NVQ’s and came out as a qualified Riding Instructor. I taught for a few years at the same yard I trained at and ended up with the most amazing experiences working alongside Paralympic Dressage and International Showjumping as an experienced Groom. I was able to learn to drive, buy my first car and have independence all by saving up my wages as I learned.
I then looked to make a change after deciding that equestrianism was more of a love than a career and remembered how much I enjoyed writing and found my creativity again. I thought that now I’m 27, an apprenticeship was never going to be something I would do again but how wrong was I.
I found the perfect apprenticeship that brought my quest to have a ‘proper job in an office’, writing and creativity all together. I didn’t think I would be able to go back and gain a new qualification but was surprised to hear that you can be an apprentice into your 60’s! Additionally, as a mature student, the government regulated wage for apprentices also meant I could afford to take time to further my learning.
Being an apprentice for the second time around has been enlightening. I remember big handwritten wedges of questions crammed into dog-eared folders that always smelt slightly like horse feed. They had to be driven halfway across the county and back every time they needed to be marked. But now, my work is done digitally and submitted to an online portal. It’s a much more environmentally friendly affair now. I can video call my tutor to save journeys and not have to leave my workplace.
I never dreamed I would find myself working for a logistics company. I, in all honesty, knew very little about the industry or even what ‘pallet network’ really meant. However, my passion for writing is not confined to any specific industry and it is humbling to know that there is still plenty of learning to be done. The team around me are patient, supportive and constructive in helping to strengthen my learning. It almost feels I have started from scratch. Not in a bad way though. More so that I can see there is so much to a marketing role besides writing a few social media posts and it’s a challenge I’m determined to rise to.
I would strongly recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who wants to make a change in career, whatever your age might be. The different career paths are endless and with the option of earning an income while you learn, the apprenticeship program will always be in my eyes the best choice you could make.
If you are looking for an apprenticeship check out the Gov.uk website by clicking here.