Apprenticeships are great – they give you on the job training while ensuring you’re paid a wage and they can set you up for a career within a certain sector. Don’t take our word for it though.
Luke Bryant, maintenance operations apprentice at Lambeth College, had to say when we quizzed him about what this kind of vocational study is really like...
So Luke, what made you decide to do an apprenticeship in the first place?
Before I started my apprenticeship I attended a performing arts school which I didn't particularly enjoy. I had always been a hands on person and liked learning new productive skills. I had heard of apprenticeships and the good opportunities they provide even after the scheme. I got a place in a local mosaic workshop so I started attending Lambeth College one day a week on a maintenance course which I was pleased with because I was going to learn six trades and how to make repairs.
What do you enjoy most about it?
For me, school was somewhere that I was forced to go and learn, but with that attitude it was very boring. Since I started the apprenticeship I feel I have done my very best and achieved more than I thought I could.
I find the practical tasks and learning the practical knowledge the most enjoyable part of the experience. I feel privileged to be working and learning while earning money and actually enjoying what I do.
What have you found challenging?
The part I find most difficult is the English and Maths side of it as I don't enjoy these subjects as much. I find English more challenging than Maths but I have achieved level 1 in both so I am currently pushing for a level 2.
Tell us about a typical day in your working life...
On a typical day at work I will have a few tasks to complete in the day, either in my head or noted down by a colleague. Some things might pop up, like having to take down an exhibition or put one up, but mostly I will make some mosaic, possibly grout a mosaic, lift mosaics and other things such as frames, install a mosaic in a gallery or into the public realm, and maintain the studio's safe and tidy conditions.
Wow – that’s a busy agenda! What skills have you gained since starting your apprenticeship that you didn't have before?
I have learnt many new skills such as bricklaying, painting and decorating, paper hanging, plumbing and mosaic making and I am yet to learn tiling, plastering and carpentry.
What do you hope to do when you've finished?
When I finish my apprenticeship I hope to get a secure, well paid job in maintenance or continue where I currently work. At the end of an apprenticeship the company will decide whether they want to hire you and unless you have done something you shouldn't have or haven't done something you should, they will most likely choose to do so.
What are your colleagues like?
I am pleased with my colleagues. I feel we get on well and make a good team. We always get the job done even when it has seemed highly unlikely.
Do you think you get treated the same as other employees?
Yes, everyone is treated the same and equally apart of the team.
What advice do you have for others considering doing an apprenticeship?
I would say an apprenticeship is a brilliant way to step into adulthood as you are learning while at work. As long as you put some effort into learning the skills you should find it very helpful not only for work in the future and now but also for doing little jobs for family and friends. And a job is highly likely if you do things properly.
Would you recommend apprenticeships to others?
I would certainly recommend apprenticeships to pretty much anyone. The scheme helped me get a foot in the workplace and it's a great confidence boost if you're not sure what to do when you finish school.
Thanks Luke! If you’re inspired by what Luke had to say, start your search for an apprenticeship here on Training and Courses – who knows where it could lead.