Apprenticeship Profile – Melody Hardcastle

Melody was a Marketing and Communications Apprentice at City of York Council. She was a York Apprenticeship Awards nominee and Apprentice of the Year.

“I left Millthorpe School in 2009 with 11 GCSE’s, grades A-C. I then went on to college to study for my AS Levels. At the end of that year, I decided that I wanted to focus on English and Media. As a result I changed my courses and started a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma course in Print Based Media, alongside my English A-level.

On completing those qualifications, I had two choices – either go to university or look at job opportunities. I decided that university wasn’t for me (especially with the rising fees).

I was keen to find a job where I could gain more experience using the skills I had learnt on my course. It was at this stage that I saw an advert for a Marketing and Communications Apprenticeship at City of York Council. I started my 18 month apprenticeship in March 2013 and gained so much experience from my amazing team. I have now been promoted to the role of Project Support Assistant within the Education and Skills Team, City of York Council, focusing on the work of York Apprenticeship Hub to promote the business and individual benefits of apprenticeships to employers and young people. I visit employers, organise city-wide Apprenticeship Recruitment Events, design and produce marketing materials and run social media campaigns and web sites.

I get to work in the area I have always wanted to work in – without having to spend thousands of pounds for university.”

Apprenticeship Profile – Lauren Armstrong

Lauren was a Advanced AAT Apprentice (STEM Learning Ltd). She was a York Apprenticeship Awards Winner and Apprentice of the Year.

After completing her GCSEs at Millthorpe School, Lauren went to York College to complete her A-levels.

Lauren joined STEM Learning Ltd (formerly Myscience) in October 2014 as an Accountancy Apprentice and quickly became an integral member of the finance team. She has shown adaptability and a real passion for learning new skills.

Within nine months of joining, Lauren had exceeded the company’s expectations and stepped up to cover a part time Accounts Assistant role whilst continuing her apprenticeship studies. Maureen Legge Head of STEM Learning Ltd said, “Every day Lauren demonstrates her abilities and we are truly impressed with how well she has taken on her new role”.

Lauren has undertaken additional training allowing her to support the senior management accountant in the analysis of budgets. As part of this she has maintained a spreadsheet to monitor expenditure of a particular cost centre which has resulted in saving the business £12,000 in the year to July 2015.

Having successfully completed her Advanced AAT Apprenticeship, Lauren progressed on to the Higher Apprenticeship in AAT.

Apprenticeship Profile – Frances Lawson

Frances worked at Millthorpe as an Apprentice Teaching Assistant from September 2015 to July 2016.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

When I finished College I was unsure of exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to work with young people, having enjoyed working in Quaker Youth events previously. I considered university but could not find a course that inspired me and I was not sure I was ready for university yet. So I investigated other options and an apprenticeship appealed to me. It was a chance to work with young people and to help me decide if that was what I wanted to work towards, whilst also earning a wage.

What did your apprenticeship teach you?

Working at Millthorpe gave me the experience of having a full time job, and strengthened many important skills e.g. communication. In addition it helped to shape me as a person and figure out my goals for the future. I really enjoyed my apprenticeship, all the staff I worked with were so supportive and really made me feel welcome. I think a great thing about apprenticeships is you are thrown into the world of work at quite a young age (most of the time) meaning you really grow as a person as you deal with the pressures of a ‘real life’ job. It enabled me to become more confident and be able to work as part of a team, which has helped me when I’ve looked for future employment while at university.

Where did your apprenticeship take you?

The qualification I gained would allow me to apply for a Teaching Assistant TA2 role, and the experience will help me when applying for any job in the future. I think doing an apprenticeship was a really efficient way to spend my transition time between school and university, it also enabled me to decide what I really wanted to do, which is a degree in psychology, and hopefully then to go into educational psychology. I don’t know if I would have reached this decision if it wasn’t for my apprenticeship! Also being paid to learn is a bonus!