SW-YAAN Leadership

The Young Apprentice Ambassador Network (YAAN) runs in close parallel with the Apprenticeships Ambassadors Network (AAN) and is represented by a Co-Vice Chair on the national AAN Leadership team.

In the South-West, the SW-YAAN have a strong team led by a Regional Chair, County Leads and a Comms Team.

Regional Chair

Amy Kyme

I work at Devon County Council as an Assistant Apprenticeship Advisor within Human Resources. Alongside this, I completing my Level 5 HR Consultant Partner Apprenticeship after successfully completing and gaining a distinction for my Level 3 HR Support Apprenticeship. I am the Regional Chair for the South-West YAAN.

Being an apprentice allows you to start your career while continuing to learn and gain qualifications, avoiding the debt of Uni. It provides opportunities to develop professionally and personally. My Apprenticeship has helped increase my confidence greatly, something that has also reflected in my personal life too.

Since joining the Network, I have had the opportunity to develop various skills such as public speaking, leadership and communication skills, all of which have directly benefited me in the workplace. I’ve been able to meet like-minded Apprentices who share a passion for promoting Apprenticeships and I’ve had the opportunity to network with different employers across the South-West.  It has opened up exciting opportunities to get involved in – things I would have never expected. For example, I was invited to co-host the Regional National Apprenticeship Awards!

County Leads

The three main roles of the County Leads are:

  • Ambassador Care – Maintaining regular contact with local Apprentice Ambassadors and celebrating their achievements (e.g., school activities; awards).
  • Advocacy – Ensuring local Apprentice Ambassadors are getting involved in activities to inspire and inform young people about apprenticeships.
  • Recruitment – Working with local employers, colleges, universities and independent training providers to promote membership of the SW-YAAN.

Cornwall – Charlie Armstrong

Hello!  I work at Pendennis Yachts in Falmouth as an Apprentice Mechanical Engineer and am looking to complete my level 3 Marine Engineering qualification.

Personally, for me, the main benefits of being an apprentice are the opportunities of working within a group of qualified tradesmen and adopting their skills and listening to their knowledge when completing tasks to the highest of standards. I feel that an apprenticeship allows you to adopt a more grown-up attitude towards education. The actions of making sure that I am on time, ready to learn and completing work to the standard that is expected has allowed me to mature as a young adult. Overall, an apprenticeship allows you to get noticed not just on your ability to retain knowledge but to be recognised for how you go about working within a team or the process used when completing a task. An apprenticeship is also a great way of using your hands on the job and uncovering a talent that you may not have ever been aware of when in education.

The main benefits that come from being a part of the SW-YAAN are the opportunities it gives me to show people that leaving full time education that there are opportunities other than university. It also allows me to go to different schools and events to show off what my company can offer. As a student that left private education it was always a straight path from 6th form to university. However, after going to an apprenticeships fair and learning that Pendennis could offer me the opportunity to find new skills and still get a qualification this opened my eyes to an alternative.  SW-YAAN gives people the opportunity to find out what their alternative could be.  This is the first time that a Pendennis employee has taken on this role and I see this as huge privilege for myself and a fantastic opportunity to show people what apprenticeships can really offer.

Devon – Sophia Bos

My name is Sophia Bos and I am the Lead Ambassador for Devon. I work for PGL training doing my Level 3 Business Administrator.

Being an apprentice comes with so many benefits. You can student discount by using NUS student card!

Since being a member of the YAAN I have met lots of people in the same boat as me.  We are able to exchange ideas and thoughts when it comes to apprenticeships.

Somerset – Ben Eve

I work at Somerset County Council in their Economy and Planning Team. In May 2020 I completed my Level 4 Associate Project Management Apprenticeship. Now, I continue to volunteer for the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network as the County Lead for Somerset.

Being an apprentice opens up lots of opportunities for networking within an organisation. A big part of progressing in your career is to set a track record for yourself and an apprenticeship is the perfect way to do this. By taking an apprenticeship, you learn on the job while proving your worth to an organisation, which makes demonstrating your experience in promotion type interviews easier!

Being in the YAAN has improved my confidence in networking and public speaking. As part of the YAAN, we regularly go out to schools and careers events and talk about our apprenticeship journey. This is the perfect way to get used to public speaking, with a presentation about yourself that you can continue to practise, refine and improve.

West of England – Joe Turner (left) & Sam Clarke (right)

We both work at Edwards Vacuum, which is a company based in Clevedon, North Somerset. Currently we are both working towards our degree on a Level 6 Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering with Manufacturing. Our role in the YAAN is as joint County Lead for the West of England (WoE).

There are so many benefits of an apprenticeship that we would be here all day explaining! Two of the highlights are being paid whilst you learn and developing yourself for your future.

Joining the SW-YAAN has improved both of our confidence more that we could have ever imagined. Presentations used to be a fear of ours, but after putting ourselves out of our comfort zone, we have both developed presentation skills and have become more confident speaking to an audience.

Gloucestershire – Lucy Hanman

I work at Stroud District Council, which is the local government authority for the district of Stroud. I completed a Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship in 2021 and now I am a Business Support Assistant for the Systems & Improvement team. In the SW-YAAN, I am the County Lead for Gloucestershire.

There are so many benefits that come from undertaking an apprenticeship, but the main ones for me have been confidence building and learning a new skill every day. Having confidence is something that I’ve always struggled with but being an apprentice has increased my confidence levels enormously.

Since joining the SW-YAAN I’ve become more comfortable with presenting to large audiences and networking with lots of enthusiastic, motivated young people – most of which I would have never crossed paths with had I not signed up to the SW-YAAN. I always say the best kinds of apprentices are the ones which never stop learning, and the SW-YAAN is a great place to grow your skills and meet likeminded people who can support you throughout your apprenticeship journey.

Swindon & Wiltshire – Olivia Dobson

My name is Olivia Dobson and I am the Swindon and Wiltshire lead for the SW-YAAN.  I currently work as a personal tax associate at RSM and am in the process of completing my level 7 Tax and Accounting apprenticeship.

Being an apprentice gives you the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge whilst also starting your career and earning money.

And the SW-YAAN is great way to meet other apprentices across your region and build a social network with like-minded individuals.

Comms Team

The Comms Team work online, typically via social media or video channels.

The three main roles of the Comms Team are:

  • Ambassador Care – Maintaining regular contact with the Regional Chair and County Leads and celebrating their achievements (e.g., school activities; awards).
  • Advocacy – Inspiring and informing young people about apprenticeships, via social media and video channels, based on:
    • Central campaigns – e.g., National Apprenticeship Week; National Apprenticeships Awards
    • Collaborating with the County Leads to celebrate and promote the activities of the Apprentice Ambassadors locally
  • Recruitment – Promoting membership of the SW-YAAN.

Comms Lead – Ellie Martin

I work for Pittville School in Cheltenham.  I have completed Level 2 and 3 Business Administration Apprenticeships, and I am now the SW-YAAN Comms Lead looking after our social media and video messaging to inspire young people to consider an apprenticeship pathway.

When you choose to become an apprentice, you take charge to gain the best learning path for your career – you get choose the apprenticeship programme, which employer, which training provide and most of all you choose your own success and goals for your futures. That’s what I like about apprenticeships the most!

The SW-YAAN has given me so many opportunities to develop my public speaking, management skills and worked with other fantastic employer and apprenticeship ambassadors where we all work together to promote apprenticeships in the South-West.

Analytics – Joe Maggs

I work for BT plc where I am completing my Level 4 Professional Accounting Technician Apprenticeship, followed by Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship.  In the Comms Team, I am the Social Media Analytics Lead.

One of the benefits of apprenticeships is the ability to dive straight into an exciting world of work and earn a degree-equivalent qualification at no cost, while earning a competitive salary and gaining real-world experience.

Being part of the SW-YAAN gives you the ability to develop your public speaking/presentation skills and gain more confidence, while knowing that you’re playing a small part in shaping the direction of young people’s lives.

Instagram – Hope Collins-Wright

I am doing a Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship working in the Communications department at Stroud District Council.

I always knew an apprenticeship would be right for me, I love being able to learn not only at college but within the workplace too. You meet so many experienced colleagues in the field you’re interested in who are there to support you, but also give you the independence especially if it’s your first time in a workplace.

The SW-YAAN is going to provide me with so many benefits. I am excited to meet people who are all in the same boat as me who are also ambitious about encouraging others to apply for apprenticeships. I will also get lots more experience to go towards my current apprenticeship too.

Twitter – Ella Bell

I work for Babcock International, and I am currently completing a Digital & Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship – specialising in Data Analysis.

I think that becoming an apprentice is extremely beneficial for your career because you are given the opportunity to gain technical knowledge through academic studies, whilst at the same time gaining professional experience in a genuine workplace.

Joining the SW-YAAN provides an excellent opportunity to develop your personal & professional skills, such as public speaking and networking, whilst also inspiring and spreading a positive message to young people.

Video Content – Eleana Nicholsi

I am a Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprentice working at Stroud District Council.

I think the benefit of being an apprentice is being able to gain practical, hands-on experience in the industry you want to work in, as opposed to more traditional, academic methods.

Joining the SW-YAAN is a great opportunity for me to get more experience in the field I am interested in, as well as helping to raise awareness of apprenticeships.