Choosing one of the myriad of career or study options available to young people after school or college is a daunting challenge. An apprenticeship is an increasingly popular choice because it offers the best of both – a head start into a job at a desired employer and learning opportunities to achieve recognised and valued qualifications. In fact, 850,000 UK apprentices have been ‘earning while they learn’ since 2013.
An apprenticeship can last up to four years, with apprentices spending more time learning and training in the first year and then increasingly spending more time ‘on the job’ at their employer. Ibstock Brick has an active apprenticeship programme across their 19 factories. We recently visited one of these facilities in Staffordshire and caught up with two of their second year apprentices to see what it’s like working as an apprentice.
As part of Ibstock Brick’s apprenticeship programme, apprentices in their second year train at the EEF Technology Training Centre for two weeks at a time, 10-12 weeks each year to work towards their BTEC qualification. The rest of the time they are at their ‘home’ factory as contributing members of the team.
Here’s part of our conversation with Jordan Fisher (J1), 19 and Jordan Fellows (J2), 18.
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?
J1: I grew up with DIY and doing hands-on stuff. I like taking things apart to find out how they work. A manufacturing and engineering apprenticeship was suited to my character.
J2: I went into sixth form and realized it wasn’t for me. I wanted something more hands on. An apprenticeship is a chance to get paid and move up the ladder instead of university where you get into a lot of debt and don’t get the same skills. I left school and went to college for engineering before I moved into my apprenticeship.
What is it like working at the factory?
J1: With an apprenticeship, you basically get to do everything the engineers do, just supervised more.
J2: My favorite part of my apprenticeship is working in heavy engineering with huge equipment.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship to a friend?
J1: Definitely, it was the right choice for me.
J2: I would recommend an apprenticeship 100%, because you can go into whatever field you want. From engineering manager to managing director, anything is possible.