MORE than 180 apprenticeship vacancies are waiting to be snapped up by teenagers looking to start work after their exams.
As thousands of youngsters prepare to receive their GCSE results on Thursday (August 20), Mark Boulting, managing director of Skills Group, reminded youngsters that there is alternative to going back to school.
He said: “The law states that anyone under the age of 18 must be in full-time education or on an apprenticeship or training programme, and yet a lot of youngsters – and their parents – still think that school is their only option.
“At Skills Group, we currently have 109 apprenticeship job vacancies in the Plymouth area that we’re struggling to fill as not enough youngsters are coming forward. We are encouraging parents to talk through the option of apprenticeships with youngsters when they are helping them decide what to do next, particularly now that the apprenticeship minimum wage is increasing to £3.30 per hour in October.”
Two youngsters who opted to go down the apprenticeship route after their GCSEs told how it helped equip them for the world of work.
Chloe Davey had originally decided to stay on to do A-levels after her GCSEs, but quickly decided they weren’t for her. She switched to an apprenticeship in business administration and now works in Derriford Hospital’s neurosurgery department.
Chloe, aged 18, said: “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.
“My mum suggested I think about an apprenticeship and put me in touch with Skills Group. I applied for a couple of positions and was offered an admin role at Derriford Hospital in the neurosurgery department.
“I’ve really enjoyed my apprenticeship. I’ve learnt lots while ‘on-the-job’. The people I work with have been really supportive, and I know that Skills Group are there to help me when I need it.
“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 and I’m sure my admin skills will come in handy then.”
Ryan Harris decided he wanted to earn money after taking his GCSEs and is now training other engineers in the service department of a Plymouth pressure washer firm.
After completing his Level 2 in fabrication and welding, 20-year-old Ryan was offered a promotion by his apprenticeship employers, Demon International Ltd.
Ryan said: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do after my GCSEs but I knew I wanted to start earning some money. When I spoke to Careers South West, they put me in touch with Skills Group who told me about the different apprenticeships I could do. I’d enjoyed engineering at school so went for a Level 2 Fabrication and Welding apprenticeship with Demon.
“I completed my apprenticeship in a year and was offered a job as Demon’s Service Engineer. I’m now running the service department, looking after the repair and maintenance of our pressure washers, and I’m training up two other engineers. I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship – you get paid to learn!”
Chloe and Ryan were both matched with suitable apprenticeships schemes thanks to Plymouth-based Skills Group. They offer apprenticeships in business, care and early years, construction, engineering and automotive, hairdressing and barbering, teaching, and sport and leisure.
Skills Group are holding a drop-in session for potential apprentices on Friday 21 August from 10am to 4pm at their training centre in Western Wood Way, Langage, Plympton. To find out more call 01752 332442 or visit their website apprenticeships4me.com.