Case Studies

Olivia Appleby, Marchand Petit

Olivia Appleby always had a real passion for dance. Before going to university in London, Olivia worked part-time in a clothes store and after a trial period living in London, she realised that she wanted to earn money and stay closer to home. Skills Group worked with Olivia to find her a place at Marchand Petit estate agents, just around the corner from home!

It all happened so swiftly and I’m happy it did. I think I was being pushed towards the university pathway, but this wasn’t for me. I picked an apprenticeship because I wanted to get experience and knowledge on-the-job, whilst earning money. That’s exactly what I am doing now!

I find it so much easier to learn on-the-job, rather than in a classroom. I really enjoy what I am doing. I’d love to move into sales negotiator role within the future with Marchand Petit.

Nicola White, TH March

Nicola White has always had a keen interest in Business, but studying full-time for her A Levels left her feeling confused about with what she wanted to do, so she took some time away from full-time education.

She saw a Plymouth Herald advert for Skills Group, made contact and was put forward for a Business and Management apprenticeship with TH March, a high-end jewellery insurance broker in Yelverton. 10 years later and Nicola is taking her advanced qualifications, moving up the career ladder quickly.

I’ve found the apprenticeship scheme very useful. My first qualification managed to secure me the role with TH March and Skills Group really encouraged me to do well, tapping into my ambition to better myself.

I’ve moved up within the company and am continuing to earn while I learn. I want to eventually become a Team Leader once I complete my Advanced Apprenticeship in Management.

Maggie Wasiluk, NHS

Maggie Wasiluk left Poland with her mum in 2011 and moved to Carlisle. After successfully completing her GCSEs, she was due to study A Levels and pursue Medicine at university. However, Maggie met a Skills Group apprentice who lived in Plymouth, and, after re-evaluating her options, decided to move to Plymouth and start a career in Business.

I think I’ve been really lucky but I’ve also worked very hard to get where I am today.

When I moved to Plymouth I met with Skills Group and was put forward for an interview that same day, and offered the job! But it didn’t really work out and I was worried I wouldn’t get all the evidence I needed to achieve my apprenticeship.

Skills Group then put me forward for an admin apprenticeship at Derriford in the Oncology department, which fortunately I got. I went on to complete my Level 2 and started my Level 3.

The support I have had from Skills Group has been fantastic. Sue, my assessor, is always available by phone or email, and has really helped if I’ve struggled with anything. If you are prepared to work hard, an apprenticeship is really rewarding – you need experience and knowledge to climb the ladder, and they give you both.

I’m now in a new role as PA to the Director of Infection Control and Secretary to the Nurse Consultants. I’m on track to complete my Level 3 and I’m also taking a shorthand course. I would like to stay with the NHS, possibly take a Business Management degree and move into a management position.

Lily Woodworth, DanSci

Lily Woodworth finished school and started A Levels before quickly realising the full-time education route wasn’t for her. She was looking for something that offered more first-hand experience and, after leaving her job as a waitress, found Skills Group through Careers South West.

Skills Group put Lily forward for a Customer Service position with Hunters Estate Agents. After a successful trial period, a plot twist saw the owner of Hunters (reluctantly) allow Lily to work for his wife at her dance school, DanSci. Since then Lily has gone from strength to strength, completing her Level 2 Customer Service apprenticeship and being promoted to Studio Manager.

I love my apprenticeship. I’ve learnt so much about the real world, gaining real experience. You’re learning first-hand while putting it into practise. Dee at Skills Group has been fab – she’s given me so much support and helped me through this course.

I want to go to university to study Marketing and Business, and I know that what I’ve learnt in my apprenticeship will help me with my application.

Chloe Davey, NHS

After my GCSEs I stayed on at school to do A Levels. It was the expected route, but after a term I realised this wasn’t what I wanted to do, so I applied for a couple of apprenticeship vacancies through Skills Group and was offered an admin role at Derriford Hospital, in the Neurology department.

I’ve really enjoyed my apprenticeship. I’ve learnt lots while ‘on-the-job’, and also been able to continue participating in local and national dog shows.

I’ve just finished my Level 2, and have been offered the post of Ward Clark with the Planned Investigation Unit. Once I’ve settled in I’m hoping to do my Level 3. Eventually I’d like to set up my own dog grooming business – I’m sure my admin skills will come in handy then!

Tom Duncan, Cross Keys Estates

I stayed on at school to do a BTEC in Sport as that was something I always enjoyed but unfortunately I had so many injuries that I decided to try something else. Cross Keys offered me a full-time position and the opportunity to do an apprenticeship.

Earlier this year I was awarded Cross Keys Employee of the Month for exceeding my targets. I’m lucky as my job is very sociable – I’m out and about meeting people and doing lots of house viewings, as well as the office based admin. What I really like is the practical nature of learning while I’m doing.

Looking back I should have started my apprenticeship after doing my GCSEs – I’d be finishing my Level 3 now, and probably earning a bit more!

About Us

Skills Group has over 20 years’ experience in delivering apprenticeships, working with top local employers to offer sustainable employment opportunities. We are one of the country's largest independent training providers, one of very few to be recognised as 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, and in the top 5% nationally for our apprentice success rates.

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