Meet our Apprentices

» Judith and Nathia at Bedford NHS Trust

Industry: Healthcare
Apprentices: Judith Farthing and Nathia Rocha
Apprenticeship: Clinical Healthcare Support Level 3

Judith

Judith works at Bedford Hospital and is completing a Level 3 apprenticeship in Clinical Healthcare Support. 

“It has always been my dream to work in Nursing. I am really dedicated and I like caring for people. The apprenticeship is the best way for me to get to my chosen career.

My job involves supporting the nursing staff on the ward and helping with patient care. I really enjoy the practical side of the job and feel I learn more when I am doing the day-to-day work.

English is my second language, so the academic side of the apprenticeship has been the most difficult, but I have had lots of support from my college assessor, colleagues and family, which has helped to keep me motivated and not give up.”

Nathia

Nathia works at Bedford Hospital and is completing a Level 3 apprenticeship in Clinical Healthcare Support. 

“Doing an apprenticeship suits me very much; I like being able to get work experience and study at the same time.  I also have three children, so being able to earn a wage whilst I study is very important.

I feel confident in my job and I am able to learn from those around me.  I have the full support of my manager and the hospital is always very helpful if I need anything to help with my development.

Bedford College has been very supportive; as part of the apprenticeship I go to college to do my English qualification. After the apprenticeship I will be going on to study a Foundation Degree and then I can choose if I want to go into Nursing, Midwifery or Social Work.”

» Tracy at Cranfield University

Industry: Human Resources
Apprentices: Tracy Tobin, CIPD Higher Apprenticeship

Tracy

Tracy has worked at Cranfield University within the HR department since September 2012 and her current role involves HR Compliance. After gaining valuable experience in HR, Tracy felt that the time was right to gain formal qualifications to support her career development.

“The apprenticeship has given me the confidence to learn again, initially I was quite scared to go back to the classroom environment after such a break. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to share experiences and learn from HR colleagues at different levels and who come from different companies.”

“My line manager has helped to get to grips with the more technical nature of my assignments and guide me on how to get the experience to complete my evidence based units.  My colleagues within the HR team have also been extremely supportive, it is good to be able to call on people who have different HR roles to gain their insight and knowledge.”

“My tutor at the College has helped me greatly; if I have any issues or concerns she is always able to help me and can be contacted by phone and email. We also have regular tutorials at College and update meetings at my workplace where we discuss progress on the course.”

“The apprenticeship has given me a good mix of HR topics to study, which has broadened my skills and experience.  If I decide at a later stage to develop me career within other areas of HR, then this will equip me to better understand what to expect.”


» Nasar & Jessica at General Motors (Vauxhall)

Industry:  Automotive
Apprentices:  Nasar Khan, and Jessica Snook, IT Apprentices

Vauxhall apprentices and Bedford College

IT apprentices Nasar Khan and Jessica Snook are helping to drive success at Vauxhall in Luton. Both apprentices are currently completing their Advanced Level 3 Apprenticeship and will then move on to their HNC and HND higher education qualifications.

Nasar is an IT Site Services Apprentice for UK, Ireland & Nordic dealing with internal customers within the business functions such as Human Resources (HR) and Marketing. His job involves him assisting users with any hardware or software faults to ensure there is minimal disruption to the business. Nasar said: “I really enjoy troubleshooting hardware and software faults and interacting with different customers everyday trying to resolve their IT problems.”

Jessica is also an IT Apprentice and is currently with Global Finance document warehousing where she makes legal and regulatory changes to a financial application for approximately 30 countries.  Jessica explained that after getting her A Levels she decided that university wasn’t for her and that an Apprenticeship made much more sense: “I could have gone to university, but the Vauxhall Apprenticeship gave me a few years’ experience in the workplace as well as being paid to get my qualifications.” 

Jessica particularly values being able to gain experience in the different areas of IT at Vauxhall.  She said: “My first role was IT support at the Vauxhall warehouse and my second role was IT support at the Vauxhall Vivaro Production Plant. Next, I’m moving into IT Planning.  It’s really good to get an understanding of the different IT roles in the whole of the company.”   Nasar added: “When I first started my Apprenticeship I was an IT analyst providing users with remote support, I then moved into an IT engineering role. My next job will be classified under IT Contact centres.”

Nasar finished school at 16 and he feels it’s important that, as an apprentice, he’s learning on the job dealing with different customers. Nasar said: “You can learn from a book but it’s completely different to when you’re faced with real life situations at work. Learning hands on skills at Vauxhall has allowed me to develop my technical knowledge and practical skills. It has been an amazing opportunity for me and one which I greatly appreciate.”

Jessica added: “I think the Apprenticeship has given me a lot of advantages.  I now know how businesses work and I also have the qualifications to back it up.” Nasar also believes that the IT Apprenticeship has allowed him to understand how IT is needed within large companies in order for them to operate effectively.

In terms of their time spent at Bedford College, both Nasar and Jessica have been impressed with the IT facilities available to them. Nasar said: “The College has provided us with great facilities to learn from.  In terms of hardware and software they’ve got all of the equipment we need in order for us to develop our IT knowledge and skills. The tutors are also qualified in well known courses such as Cisco and CompTIA A+.” 

Jessica added: “During our first year at College we did an IT maintenance course – when we learnt to take apart a computer and then put it back together again. The College has also been able to change and tailor the units to my company’s needs.  For example, Project Management was added in as a new module because we use this a lot in the business environment.  It’s great that the College is so adaptable.” 

» Holly at Maydencroft

Industry:  Environmental
Apprentice:  Holly Grant, Agriculture Higher Apprentice

Holly Grant Apprenticeship Higher Apprentice Maydencroft

After studying an Advanced Level course in Agriculture, Holly was initially planning to go on to university. Instead, she applied for a degree-level apprenticeship vacancy at Maydencroft – a Hertfordshire-based environmental consulting and contracting company. The new Higher Apprenticeship programme in Agriculture offered by Shuttleworth College has a more scientific approach and develops higher level management skills.

Working as an Apprentice Stockperson in the farming division, Holly’s job role involves all aspects of livestock husbandry including feeding and checking over their herds of Longhorn cattle and managing a range of livestock activities. The livestock are grazed throughout Hertfordshire both on Maydencroft farmland and as part of grazing conservation for a wide variety of clients.

“My role at Maydencroft is quite different because I’ve previously worked on a dairy farm, so working with the Longhorn cattle is a new experience for me.  The role is also very varied because the company is made up of different divisions, so you are able to experience other areas such as arboriculture and ecology.”

Holly attends College one afternoon per week. “The apprenticeship means that you are constantly putting what you learn at College into practice – you are not just learning from a book.” I enjoy coming into College to see other students and we went on two trips during the first term; to Smithfield Festival and to a pig farm in Baldock.”

With a Level 4 qualification as well as plenty of work experience under her belt, Holly would eventually like to work in dairy and livestock nutrition. 

» Vicki at Saddlers Farm Day Centre (Lansdowne Care Ltd)

Industry: Care
Apprentices: Vicki Farrah, Care Higher Apprenticeship

Vicki

Vicki has worked for Lansdowne Care for over 15 years, working her way up to her current role as a Daycare Manager at Saddlers Farm; a unique day centre set in 7.5 acres of land for adults with learning difficulties. During the early part of her career, Vicki completed care sector apprenticeships at Level 2 and Level 3 and was keen to progress onto the higher apprenticeship.

“When I became a Daycare Manager in November 2014 I knew that I would benefit from further study and pushed my employer to allow me to do the Level 5 qualification.  The course was really interesting and very informative; legislation in the care sector is always changing, so the apprenticeship helped to stay up to date. It also allowed me to look at how I managed my team and make changes to my approach, making me a better Manager.”

“I found the step up to the Level 5 a challenge, but my tutor at Bedford College was very supportive and she explained everything in layman’s terms; she was determined that we would all gain the qualification.  I attended college one day a week and found juggling the studying around the demands of the day job and home life was also quite difficult; I needed to do some work from home at times, but it was all worth it.”

“I would definitely recommend apprenticeships for career development, I enjoy pushing myself to keep on learning and moving forward. It was also great to be able to work with such a wide range of people from different backgrounds and cultures. At Lansdowne Care we are planning on putting a number of our employees through similar apprenticeships to help their development.”

» Leah at Split Enz

Industry:  Hairdressing
Apprentice:  Leah Groom, Hairdressing Apprentice

Split Enz

Leah knew she was interested in becoming a hairdresser and her first step was attending Bedford College’s open day.  She said: “To be honest, I didn’t even know you could be an apprentice in this area, it was only when I was at the College’s open event that I found out about them.”  

Staff at Bedford College gave Leah a list of local hairdressers who were offering Apprenticeships and Leah visited each of the salons and handed in her CV.  The owner of Split Enz in Bedford, invited Leah for an interview which went well.  She then went along for two trial days. Leah said: “It was really busy when I went in for my first trial day and, (because it was my first time working in a salon), it was quite hectic, but luckily my boss asked me to come in for another trial the next day and this time I knew exactly what to expect so it went really well.”

Leah has been particularly impressed with all the support she has received on her Apprenticeship, both at work in the salon and from the College. She said: “My Assessor, Learning Advisor and Tutor have all been great – they’re so good at what they do.  At the start of the Apprenticeship I was finding it very hard to adjust to the workplace, after leaving school, but they really helped and supported me through it.  They knew I could do it and it did all turn out fine.”

Leah added: “An Apprenticeship is completely different to school.  With the type of work I do, you are on your feet all day and you have to deal with the general public.  You have to learn skills like customer service as well as hairdressing techniques. Overall, I have really enjoyed it and it’s gone really quickly. I’m so glad I’ve done it this way because, as an apprentice, I’m learning in two different environments, in the salon and at College.  There’s a lot more variety and it’s benefited me so much.”

» Rhiannon at Springfield Lower School

Industry:  Education
Apprentice: Rhiannon Riccio, Teaching Assistant Apprentice

Springfield Lower School

When Rhiannon left school she started studying a Childcare course at College but quickly realised that an Apprenticeship was much better for the way she liked to learn.  Rhiannon said: “My College tutor gave me some information about Apprenticeships and she actually helped me to find the job at Springfield Lower School.  I’m a hands on person so an Apprenticeship is much better for me as I can learn while I work.  I also find it easier to do my assignments because, instead of reading books, I can use a lot of practical examples from my job.”

There are 26 children in the class that Rhiannon supports and she particularly enjoys learning new teaching techniques.  She said: “I’m always picking up new teaching techniques from the teacher. For example, if I’m helping a child during Maths, I will ask the teacher to help me teach a different technique.”

Rhiannon feels that she has benefited a lot from her Apprenticeship and that the experience has made her much more ready for the world of work than if she had done a College course. She said: “If you’re just doing a course then afterwards you’re thrown into the world of work and it can be quite a shock.  With an Apprenticeship it’s not as intimidating because you’ve been doing the work every day and studying at the same time.”

» Tim at Center Parcs

Industry:  Arboriculture
Apprentices:  Tim Cox, Arborist Apprenticeship Level 2

TimBy his own confession, Tim is a real ‘outdoorsy’ type! He started working at Center Parcs Woburn Forest two years ago as a Ground Assistant. While he had plenty of experience in construction and carpentry, he had no formal qualifications.

“I was a police officer for three years”, said Tim, “but what I love about being involved in the outdoors is that you can immediately see where you’ve been and the progress made. You can’t do that in the police force; it’s very paperwork heavy.” 

In his role as Ground Assistant, Center Parcs gave Tim the opportunity to become qualified through the apprenticeship programme at Shuttleworth College. “They’re committed to ongoing training and investing in their employees”, said Tim. “Although I could do all the manual stuff, it was about learning the approved methods.”

The apprenticeship took Tim 18 months to complete with day release from work to attend College once a week. “My tutors were great, very helpful and I could approach them with any questions or queries. I didn’t find it a problem getting back into learning after so long.”

Tim’s apprenticeship covered the skills and knowledge required for a wide variety of arboriculture duties, such as preparing sites for planting, controlling unwanted vegetation and maintaining health and safety. He gained the Work-Based Trees & Timber (Arboriculture) NPTC/City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma plus Forestry and Arboriculture City & Guilds Certificate and he is now considering other day and short course qualifications to complement his career plans.

Tim is now a Senior Ranger at Center Parcs Woburn Forest. “Everything from emptying bins to cutting down trees, this job involves carpentry work and ground work too”, he explained. “It’s all about reacting to the jobs that come in in a timely and correct manner. It was definitely worth taking on the apprenticeship as it’s given me the formal qualifications I needed to progress my career.”

» Harlan at Vauxhall Technical Centre

Industry: Automotive
Apprentices: Harlan Todd, Service Technician Apprentice

Vauxhall and Bedford College

For Harlan Todd becoming an apprentice in the automotive industry after leaving school was an easy decision.  “I just thought it was so much better to earn while you learn.” He said. Not only do you get great hands on experience in industry, but you also get a qualification at the end of your Apprenticeship.”

Harlan works at Vauxhall’s Technical Centre in Luton and particularly values being able to work on real customers’ cars and dealing with technical issues that the Vauxhall Dealership technicians are not able to solve. “Every day is different and no two jobs are the same, so it’s really interesting. I’ve even had the chance to be involved in changing an engine on a new Chevrolet Corvette, which is quite a unique experience!”

Harlan also enjoys his time at Bedford College, which also focuses on practical learning in the motor vehicle workshops.  He said: “The facilities are great and the tutors are good at understanding that apprentices work full-time so they don’t have the holidays that other students have.  They bear this in mind when they’re asking for assignments to be handed in.”

Overall, Harlan has enjoyed his Apprenticeship so far.  It has given him a foot in the door in an exciting industry and a chance to mature because of the responsibility he’s been given at work. He added: “If you do well, your employer sees that you’re good and wants to keep you on for a full-time job.”

» Akbar at Wates Group

Industry:  Construction
Apprentices:  
Akbar Khan, Planner Apprentice

Wates Group and Bedford College

While studying for his A-Levels, Akbar took some time off to take part in a “Get Into” programme with The Prince’s Trust and Bedford College. The group worked on a timber frame restoration project on a historical barn at Kings Hill Farm, part of the Shuttleworth College site. “We learnt carpentry and joinery skills and it inspired me to enrol on the full-time Level 3 Construction course at the College,” explains Akbar.

During the first year of the full-time course, Akbar realised he needed to get back out on site in order to apply his new found knowledge and learn the trade on a daily basis. He says, “Woking at Wates Construction as an Apprentice Planner has given me the opportunity to understand the whole construction process and develop my skills.”

“I am getting the chance to understand the whole business from working with the production team, engineers, commercial etc. which is all helping with developing my skills and making me a better Planner. Everyone at Wates Construction is welcoming and prepared to answer any question you have which is very supportive.”

Akbar comes into College for lessons once a week. “The education and training given at the College is very good, as are the facilities,” he says. “There is an excellent library which is also good for group work”.

Doing the Apprenticeship has no doubt helped with Akbar’s career plans. “I now know I want to continue working in the construction industry. I’ve enjoyed my time at College too and may come back at the end of the Apprenticeship to complete a higher education qualification – either a HNC or a Foundation Degree in construction,” he concludes.  

Eleana - Painting & Decorating (Level 2 Apprenticeship)

Previous School: Stratton Upper School 

 Eleana

When I decided I didn’t want to study at sixth form anymore, my journey at College began. I had just painted my own bedroom, so thought I would try studying a course in painting and decorating. I started studying at Bedford College on a full-time study programme and then, about a year in, a local company came into the College looking for an apprentice. My tutor asked me if I wanted to do it, and it’s been a really good decision.

I am now learning both on the job and at College, and I also received a £500 bursary from the Connolly Foundation to help with costs. I work for Coles Decor in Biggleswade on two week block release from College.

I enjoy painting the most, especially stencilling work. I haven’t had as much experience in papering, but it is improving. All of my tutors are so helpful and they allow you to work how you want to work. It’s a pretty relaxed environment and, although I’m one of the only girls in the department, everyone is really easy to get along with.

After the apprenticeship comes to an end I want to get into full-time employment to gain more experience before hopefully becoming a self-employed Painter & Decorator.

Find out more about Painting & Decorating Level 2 Apprenticeship

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