Hertfordshire school leaver or looking for a career change? An apprenticeship could be for you
- Credit: HCC
School leavers and those looking to change careers are being urged to look beyond the traditional routes into work as part of National Apprenticeship Week.
The week - which started today and runs until Sunday, February 9 - aims to celebrate the positive impact of apprentices in the workplace and to highlight the huge range of opportunities on offer.
Hertfordshire County Council is keen to get this message across, with 359 people currently enrolled on apprenticeships working across a variety of areas, including adult social care, engineering, planning, finance, human resources and the county's fire and rescue service.
Often associated with school leavers, Mara Hubbard is proof that it's never too late to consider an apprenticeship.
The 42-year-old, who is a business administration apprentice with the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership in Letchworth, said: "I previously worked in retail, but decided to change career and move into business administration. An apprenticeship was a great option to learn on the job and get a qualification at the same time.
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"My apprenticeship is a varied, interesting role that is keeping me stimulated every single day and I enjoy working with the great team in the office here."
If you enjoy working with people and have a kind and caring personality, then an apprenticeship in adult social care could appeal. Former adult social care apprentice James Dodd secured a role as a residential support worker in Letchworth after completing the Level 1 and 2 social care apprenticeships.
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The 19-year-old said: "I knew that something like construction wasn't going to be for me, but I thought it doesn't take a lot to be kind, anyone can talk to people so I thought I'd give social care a try. It's been the best - it's very rewarding and it's boosted my confidence."
Apprentices spend up to 20 per cent of their time studying for associated qualifications at local colleges, but Herts firefighters are all trained in-house at the Joint Emergency Services Academy in Stevenage and complete an apprenticeship as part of this process.
Trainee firefighter, Andre White, 26, said: "Currently we are developing our initial firefighting knowledge and skills so, a typical day is spent learning theory, for example fire science, and completing practical exercises such as ladder drills."
Councillor Ralph Sangster, executive member for resources and performance for the council, added: "There are lots of employers across Hertfordshire offering apprenticeships, providing people with the opportunity to obtain qualifications, transferable skills, experience and employment.
"Our apprenticeships at the county council are open to people of all ages, whether you are looking to change career, get back into work after a break, have just left school or have little or no experience or qualifications. If you are thinking about an apprenticeship, go ahead and register your interest now - it's easy."
To find out more about HCC's apprenticeship programme and to register your interest, visit hertfordshire.gov.uk/apprenticeships - applications for the next intake of business administration apprentices are being welcomed, for example.
You can also explore career and apprenticeship opportunities in Herts at hopinto.co.uk.