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Students embrace apprenticeship opportunities

For most teenagers, leaving school is the biggest life event they have experienced so far, and for many pupils leaving us this summer, the next step they take in their journey will be into the world of apprenticeship. 

While for some the next move is university, for many years, we have encouraged pupils to consider all the options opened up by apprenticeships, including continuing their education and skills development while earning a wage.

“As well as securing prestigious university places, students are encouraged to explore higher level apprenticeships,” said Luke Rawling, our head of Year 13.

“Many of them are enrolled on a bespoke apprenticeship support programme run by the school. Working with external agencies and businesses, our sixth form has a track record of students being offered well sought-after apprenticeship places.” 

In recent times, our students have gone to organisations including Boots, the Civil Service, British Sugar, the National Grid, and Nestle, and into careers in radiography, engineering, pharmacy and the law. 

This year is similarly varied, with students heading off to begin apprenticeships in fields including accountancy, dental nursing, tool making, early years education and estate agency. 

Liam Horspole, who will start an accountancy apprenticeship with global accountancy firm BDO, said he was steered towards apprenticeship from Year 12 onwards. 

“I became interested in apprenticeships once I started work in year 12 and realised how much I preferred it to schooling and realised how much better I actually learnt whilst on the job,” he said, adding that economics, rather than maths, was the most useful thing he had picked up at school. 

Carys Baily, who will be starting a four-year apprenticeship working towards being a chartered global management accountant (CGMA) at Jaguar Land Rover, also praised the importance of the guidance she had received at our school. 

“The multiple work experiences that I completed prior to applying for the apprenticeship definitely helped me during the interview process, and I had great support from the sixth form team when I was in year 12, helping me get relevant experience in the finance industry,” she said. 

Freddie Coates, who will join BAE to work on designing the next range of Royal Navy submarines, said choosing the apprenticeship path had been a “no-brainer”. 

“Initially, I wanted to go to university for the social aspects, but once I explored the wide range of benefits of doing an apprenticeship, including the excellent work experience with a globally recognised company and not having to pay a single penny, it seemed a no-brainer,” he said.  

“I realised that while my friends were building up student debt, I would be on a decent salary right from the start, with the potential to go up, which would stand me in great stead in the longer term.” 

Sophie Tucker is taking up a digital marketing apprenticeship at the Walt Disney corporation, and said it was a dream come true.  

“Apprenticeships in general, and the range of skills you can pick up in them, appealed to me and Disney in particular was hugely attractive to work for on many levels,” she said.  

“They’re an ethical and environmentally aware company, which was important for me, and they also offer a wide range of opportunities and roles in each part of the organisation, so I would be continuing to learn whilst also being part of a company I was genuinely enthusiastic about.”