It’s a dilemma faced by all school-leavers and is one of the most important decisions of their lives – what to do next? They stand at the crossroads to their future, not knowing whether to take on the financial burden of three years at college or university, go straight into a job or look at a delay tactic such as a gap year. There is of course another option and one that is increasingly becoming a popular choice with over 900,000 people across the UK – an apprenticeship where they can earn while they learn.
With the 10th anniversary celebration that is National Apprenticeship Week 2017 upon us, apprenticeships come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common - a ladder of opportunity to a great career. Apprenticeships are essentially structured training programmes which help young people gain the skills and knowledge to succeed in their chosen industry. Trainees gain an advantage as they are employed earlier and obtain a foothold in a good salary earlier in their life.
In a bid to address the skills shortage in the aging construction industry, apprenticeships within the sector are on the up, as more and more young people realise there are a number of careers they can take up in the industry.
For a company which is demonstrating its commitment to protecting the future of its workforce, Darren Evans Assessments has had tremendous success with apprentices employing a number of local young people and accessing funding for their role including training at college.
New school leaver Sophie Pine is an apprentice in business support at Darren Evans and is studying towards her Business Administration Apprenticeship at SGS Filton College. She says her first job was always going to be a big change, but she didn’t find it a stressful experience, far from it. “I definitely think getting an apprenticeship was the best decision as I prefer coming to work every morning than going to school. I also enjoy what I do every day and the advantage is that I am learning and gaining experience at the same time.”
“I find the construction industry interesting because it has opened my eyes and has made me more aware of things that I wasn’t aware of before. There is also a lot of scope within this field, as people will always need the services we provide,” said Sophie.
Sophie is also a prime example of how younger women can gain a foothold in the male-dominated construction sector.
Fellow apprentice Oliver Janes is also reaping the benefits of an apprenticeship at the firm, whilst studying Business Administration one day a week at SGS Filton College. “When I joined Darren Evans Assessments I didn’t really have much of an idea about the industry, however, since joining my knowledge has grown and constantly does so. I like that this is a competitive industry and that as a company we are thriving,” said Oliver.
Commenting on the school-to-work transition, Oliver added, “I feel the change in my life from school to office has been really good and I enjoy the working life. I have learned so many different things since starting at Darren Evans, from administrative tasks such as invoices, to undertaking SAPs and EPCs within the technical team.
“Six months ago I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to start my career or where I was going to go to start it. However, since working at Darren Evans, they have given me the opportunity to improve myself and also help me get an understanding in what I want to do for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Michelle Clark, Office/HR Manager said: “Offering Sophie and Ollie an apprenticeship has given Darren Evans Assessments a chance to play an active role in moulding our future workforce and creating the future skills that we need to help our business grow. I am so proud to be part of watching Sophie and Ollie grow into young professionals whilst gaining a recognised qualification at college. They have both settled into the world of work, are enthusiastic and an asset to our company already.”
The benefit to the business is clear: Darren Evan Assessments is able to place people in the company who it knows to be experienced, competent and can hit the ground running. These apprenticeships are seen as a positive choice for young people.