Could you tell me a bit about yourself and what you’re doing?
My name's Jasper, I’m a 21-year-old electrical installation apprentice on JTL Trainings' apprenticeship scheme. I’ve spent the past three years working full time and studying part time for a level 3 advanced apprenticeship. At the end of my apprenticeship I’ll be awarded a gold card and become a fully qualified electrician.
What did you do before the apprenticeship?
I went to uni and found it wasn’t for me because I wasn’t interested in the academic side of things and I found it boring. I left halfway through my first year and moved back home. I started doing courses in a variety of areas, first a social media and digital marketing course, then a pre-apprenticeship summer bootcamp which gave me basic construction skills. I got a level 2 multi-craft qualification from this, which included tiling, bricklaying, working with plaster board. The bootcamp was advertised in my local paper, it was run by the council and it was free.
Were you told about apprenticeships in school?
No not really. My school pushed you towards going to university. If you said you didn’t want to go to university they’d still get you to write a personal statement and just apply to these universities. Even if you really didn't want to go they’d make you sign up to UCAS. There are so many options available to young people besides university, I wish I'd known about apprenticeships when I was in sixth form, as I would have gone straight into one.
What do you like about your apprenticeship?
I like everything! I find the work gratifying, I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands and doing odd jobs around the house. My supervisor is really supportive and gives me lots of responsibility so I can develop my skills. My training provider, JTL Training, are really great and paid for my work tools, I study at college one day a week.
What was the application process like?
I got it through the GLAB summer scheme that I was doing. At the end of the scheme they gave you the option to get interviewed by a few trades. I wanted to be an electrician, I had two interviews with electrician companies. I had one interview with my manager and one of the other team members.
What’s the studying like?
I spend one day a week during term time at college and four days a week at work. I get paid to go to college, just a bit less than what I get paid on my day rate. It’s nothing like school. You get a lot more independence because you’re a lot older, you get a lot more respect from teachers. You get a lot more control, you’re there for yourself because you want to be, not because you have to be. Because you actually enjoy going there it’s nicer than school where you have to be there. The topics are quite necessary for what I’m doing, it’s very interesting. I had one practical assessment at the end of the year and it was a combination of tasks, in one I had to wire up a light and a circuit. I had two exams this year – one was a health and safety test, and the other was a science and mechanics test. It’s very easy to balance work and studying.
What advice would you give to school leavers?
There’s a lot of apprenticeships out there, no matter what you enjoy doing, there’s one out there for you. I’m an electrician, but you can get apprenticeships in the music industry, or as a social worker, or boatbuilding. You could do an apprenticeship in literally anything. If you think there’s a career path you want to get into an apprenticeship is a good way of doing it, cause you’re not committed. It’s a very good thing to get behind you. Make sure you enjoy what you do otherwise it’s not worth doing.
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Interviewed by Clarissa Ducie