Apprentices find career success at Loughborough College

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Apprentices have revealed how Loughborough College has been helping them find career success.

After quitting her BTEC Business course Paulina Palyska felt disillusioned about her future – but an apprenticeship with Loughborough College changed all that and she is now thrilled to have secured a job in finance.

“I had to pull out of my BTEC course due to personal reasons and spent several years working in factories and doing cleaning jobs until one day I woke up and thought, I know I am capable of more.

“I began a Level 2 Association of Accounting Technicians course with Loughborough College and as I was coming to the end of it I was introduced to the idea of an apprenticeship with the College.

“It has been fantastic for me as your employer not only pays for your courses but they also provide a salary – and if you are not living with your parents and need to be self sufficient it is great to have an income while at the same time you are gaining qualifictions and on the job experience.

“I also felt that because you were training, there was no expectation in the workplace that you would know everything – and that meant I wasn’t put off by any mistakes. The College also gave me fantastic support academically. Consequently my confidence just grew and grew.”

Having completed AAT Level 3 and 4 as well as L4 Business Skills Paulina, now 26, has accepted a permanent position as Finance Assistant with the College.

“My plan is to move into management accounting so hopefully I’ll be embarking on further qualifications with Loughborough College soon. It’s great to finally feel I am where I should be and to look forward to the future.”

Carly Adams came later to apprenticeships but went on to not only secure a job with Loughborough College but to then also be promoted.

“I used to work in the civil service but the training I received was in house, so when I left to raise my family I had no recognized qualifications.

“I have four children, one with special needs, and when I reached a point where I felt I could work outside the home again it was suggested I apply for apprenticeships.

“At 37 I admit I wasn’t hopeful but then I was offered three different ones in a week – and went for Loughborough College.

“It was not easy to fit work and studying around all my commitments at home but I got so much support from the College and in the space of a year I had completed my L3 in Advance Business Administration and was offered a job – and a year after that I have been promoted to Business Process Coordinator.

“Next up are qualifications in Leadership and Management.

“I still can’t believe how far I have come – and a real bonus is that my children have seen me go through the hard work and come out with something of value and that has really inspired them. They say I am their role model.

“My 17 year old son Harry has actually now chosen to do an apprenticeship, in supported teaching and learning. University isn’t for everyone but this way he can gain valuable experience alongside qualifications and, who knows, he might then choose it as a pathway into a teaching degree.”

Molly Whittenbury, 18, has been working as a customer service apprentice at Loughborough College for a year – since deciding mid-way through her A-levels that a solely academic route was not for her.

“I had started A2s but finally admitted to myself that that style of learning with constant revision and exams did not suit me.

“Now I have an element of academic study and testing but I am also picking up so many hands on skills – I have really been enjoying it. It is the best of both worlds to be earning money and picking up great qualifications.

“I have been interviewed for a few jobs at the College now I am coming to the end of my apprenticeship – and hopefully it will be good news.

“I wish my school had done more to promote apprenticeships. I certainly didn’t realise there was such a wide range available and what fantastic opportunities there are to progress.”

Amy Curtis, 20, says that after doing three A-levels she had been expected to go to university.

“I wish someone had told me about apprenticeships. I spent almost two years knowing I didn’t want to go to university but not realising there was another route I could take.

“Now I am at Loughborough College studying for my Level 3 in Customer Service and learning on the job there and I love it.”

When Louisa Zarmaeva had to leave her home and the area where she was living she found herself jobless and faced with starting a new life from scratch.

“I had completed GCSEs and then took years studying for a BTEC and an access diploma but after a year at university I realized it was not for me. So I went to work – then everything was thrown up in the air.

“I applied for an apprenticeship in administration at Loughborough College but didn’t expect anything because at 25 I thought I was too old – so I was thrilled to get it.

“I enjoyed it so much and could not believe how much I learnt and how quickly – and all while being paid and getting my Level 3,” adds Louisa, now 28.
“I tell everyone now, don’t bother with university. It takes three or four years and you spend lots of money which you then have to pay back. To me an apprenticeship is a much better route,” said Louisa, now 28.

“After 18 months a permanent role came up in sport administration at Loughborough College and I was offered it. Now I am looking at further qualifications. It is my dream to become a manager.”

Ellie Festa, 21, is delighted to have been given a contract as a Reprographic Technician at Loughborough College after completing her apprenticeship there.

“After finishing my GCSEs I switched from A-levels to a Business Administration apprenticeship at the College and I haven’t looked back.

“I could have carried on and thought about university but I wouldn’t have got all this work – and life – experience.

“Now I encourage everyone I can to consider an apprenticeship!”

Paige Norris, 18, only started her apprenticeship at Loughborough College a couple of months ago.

“I was a childcare apprentice, working as a nursery nurse, for just under two years but although I enjoyed it I felt I wanted to explore something completely different.

“Now I am an administration apprentice at the College and I am so pleased I made the switch.

“It’s a great way to get on the ladder, to build up your qualifications and your work experience – all while you’re getting paid.

“Even after a year I’ll have all those skills plus my Level 3 in Business Adminstration – you very quickly find yourself in a position where you’ve got so much to offer.”

Pictured: (left to right): Louisa Zarmaeva, Paige Norris, Paulina Palyska, Carly Adams, Amy Curtis, Molly Whittenbury and Ellie Festa

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