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Apprentice Jessica loves her job. Could you, too?

Apprentice Jessica loves her job. Could you, too?

March 13, 2017
Jessica Kang, council apprentice

Doing an apprenticeship is becoming an increasingly popular route for young people to enter the world of work, especially the ability to earn while you learn. There are 194 apprentice placements at local businesses that need to be filled – with more about to be made available by Ealing Council, too.

Making your way at the council

More than 200 young people have gone through the council’s apprenticeship scheme since it was set up in 2007. And the next intake of apprentices is about to be recruited.

The scheme involves a one-year training agreement with the option of a second year, and an allowance starting from £210 per week. In return, the council is looking for enthusiastic and motivated people who are willing to learn new skills.

Each apprentice gains valuable experience in a council team in one of a wide range of disciplines – from planning to parks; and from housing to horticulture; as well as working towards a vocational qualification. Most of them successfully complete the full scheme to ‘graduate’.

Some have then gone into full-time jobs with the council. Others have moved to employment, education or further training elsewhere.

Jessica’s story

Jessica Kang (pictured above), 22 began her apprenticeship in 2014 in the council’s human resources team as part of a help desk.

“I really love my job, I like everything I do, whether its running reports, setting up new starters, or responding to staff payroll enquiries,” said Jessica.

After sixth form, Jessica was confused as to what she wanted to do. It was not until she heard about the council’s apprenticeship scheme through her aunt that she decided to apply. She said: “Working and getting a qualification while being able to progress into a career really appealed to me.”

Two years later Jessica is now in with a chance of gaining a permanent job in the team she is working with.

She said: “I’m always learning different skills and applying what I’ve been learning in my coursework.

“I’ve got loads of experience now, and an apprenticeship really is a great opportunity because it’s not just about university qualifications out there now – a degree can’t offer you the job experience an apprenticeship can.”

Zain’s story

Zain Sanik, 20, is a repairs surveyor working with the council’s housing repairs team, which fixes and maintains council-owned properties. He is half-way through his apprenticeship working towards a level 3 NVQ in building surveying.

Zain Sanik, council apprentice
Zain Sanik, council apprentice

He said: “I really enjoy the mixture of going out, being on site and in the office. During the day I go out and do inspections, and if there are any repairs which need to be made to the property I then raise it with the contractor.”

When he was finishing his A-levels, Zain was contemplating whether to go to university or begin an apprenticeship.

He said: “In the end I chose to go with an apprenticeship because it would mean I was able to gain experience in the workplace in something I wanted to do as well as work towards a qualification.”

Interested? Here is how to apply

The next round of vacancies at the council will be advertised in April. To find out about current vacancies, eligibility criteria and to apply for an apprenticeship, visit www.ealing.gov.uk/apprenticeships

Key dates
  • Opening date for applications: 1 April
  • Closing date for applications: 30 April
  • Screening workshops: Tuesday, 17 May and Thursday, 19 May
  • Interviews: From Monday, 30 May
  • Apprenticeships start from September 2017

194 other job chances with local firms

As well as taking on its own apprentices, the council runs the Ealing Apprenticeship Network to help local businesses set up apprenticeships of their own. For the fourth year running, it ran its successful 100-in-100 campaign to encourage companies to pledge 100 apprentice opportunities in 100 days. It ran between September and December and a record-breaking 194 pledges were made from more than 60 businesses. If you think you have what it takes to fill one of the apprentice placements, go online at www.ealing.gov.uk/apprenticeships to fill in a questionnaire. You could be invited to a workshop or to meet with an advisor. Businesses interested in taking on apprentices can call 020 8825 6234, any time of the year.

Not quite ready yet? Take another Pathway

If you feel like you are not quite ready for an apprenticeship or job, and want some support to get there, then the Pathways programme may be for you.

As a Pathways trainee you would get the practical experience, guidance and training needed to help you enter employment.

To apply you need to be aged between 16-24 and willing to commit to five days per week over a 20-week programme.

One trainee to benefit from Pathways was Steven Tiller, who is now an apprentice working for the council’s Youth and Connexions service. “Pathways gave me confidence and the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone,” said Steven. “The placement let me experience a real work environment. The training helped me gain the skills and qualification to go on to an apprenticeship.”

The programme includes:

  • A paid work placement for two days a week
  • Accredited training in employability, English and maths
  • Personal development including mentoring, CV-writing and interview practice
  • Social action projects, trips and team work activities.
Interested in Pathways?

For more information, or to apply, email beinspired@ealing.gov.ukor visit www.youngealing.co.uk/connexions/ealing-projects