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Apprentices join campaign to promote benefits of lifelong work skills

Gill Starling and Kyle Hugill are two Staffordshire apprentices joining in the celebrations for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.

Both are learning real skills while developing their careers and are sharing their experiences as part of the weeklong campaign starting on Monday 6 February.

35-year-old Gillian Starling from South Staffordshire is a Laboratory Technician with the county council’s highways department. Gillian is currently doing a Level 3 Materials Testing Technician apprenticeship.

She said:

“Back in August 2021, I decided to have a career change, which is when I got my job with the highway’s laboratory at the county council. I knew I wanted to work in a laboratory team environment but also wanted to have the option to work outdoors and this job allows me to do both.

“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship. It has given me confidence in my role and is continuously improving my technical abilities and skills. I am able to apply the theory that I am learning to my role, when both testing samples and when working on site.

“I hope to continue working for the laboratory and develop as a versatile technician with areas of specialist knowledge.  If anyone is considering an apprenticeship, I would say go for it.  It not only helps develop your confidence and skills but makes you challenge yourself every day.”

The celebrations coincide with the launch of the new Staffordshire Jobs and Careers service, a one stop service with advice on jobs, careers, training and learning opportunities in Staffordshire.

Former apprentice Olivia Wilce is now a job broker with the service and said:

“Starting as an apprentice with the county council myself was fantastic.  Not only did I get the chance to learn new skills, I also ended up with a valuable qualification.

“Now I’m actually helping others to find their route into new jobs, careers and training opportunities as a job broker within the new service.  It’s been brilliant and I love what I do. I’m very grateful to the county council for the opportunity I’ve had to grow and develop.”

18-year-old Kyle Hugill is an apprentice mechanic with FMS Car and Truck in Stafford.

Kyle said:

“Apprenticeships are definitely not the easy way out.  Learning and earning is tough, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’ve been here for two years and learnt so much; far more than if I was just in a classroom.  If anyone is thinking about doing an apprenticeship, I’d say go for it – just try it.

“It’s not hard to get an apprenticeship, you can get them through colleges, but if you want to find out about apprenticeships available right across Staffordshire, the Staffordshire Jobs and Careers website is the place to go.”

Philip White, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills at Staffordshire County Council said:

“Continuing to grow and invest in our economy, so that people have access to high quality jobs, remains a priority for the county council.

“This includes improving skills and making sure that we have skilled and ambitious employees to meet the changing needs of our employers.  Apprenticeships are key to this and are not only a great option for those doing them but benefit businesses too, bringing in fresh ideas and improving productivity.”

Apprentices continue to play a key role in growing Staffordshire’s economy, with over 6,500 apprentices engaged in learning during the last 12 months.  Apprenticeships are available from Level 2 to Higher Apprenticeships, which are the equivalent of a foundation degree to a bachelor’s degree and even a master’s degree level in some sectors.

Philip added:

“The new Staffordshire Jobs and Careers service is also a great starting point for anyone looking for an apprenticeship, job or career in Staffordshire. Whatever stage of career people are at, I would encourage them to consider an apprenticeship and visit the website for details.”

People can find out more about apprenticeships in Staffordshire on the Staffordshire Jobs and Careers website.

Video Link: Level 3 apprentice Gillian Starling explains what she loves about her role

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