YAAN ZONE

DEVON 

REGION

ALICIA HARRINGTON

I am a Marketing Executive at Exeter based Software firm Oneserve. Completing my Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship with Exeter College two years ago has led me to have numerous amazing opportunities and enabled me to kick start my career and to grow and develop personally.

What is the SWYAAN and what do you do as an Ambassador?

As an ambassador I visit schools and attend events to tell my apprenticeship story to raise awareness with young people who are unsure of how to take the first steps on their career ladder. I work to highlight the benefits and debunk the assumptions and stigma that surrounds apprenticeships. Through my role within the SWYAAN comms team I also work to spread this message across social media.

What advice would you give to young people who might be considering an apprenticeship?

It is possible to get a job in your dream career through an apprenticeship! You can complete one in any industry, at the level that suits you, going all the way up to Degree Apprenticeships. Don’t let people tell you that an apprenticeship can’t get you to where you want to be, because the ability to learn on the job whilst simultaneously developing life skills are invaluable to you and your future.

MICHAEL JONES

I am a Level 7 apprentice studying a Master’s degree at Cranfield University to fulfil the ‘Through-Life Engineering Services Specialist’ apprenticeship standard. Day-to-day, I work in an engineering role on some of the world’s most capable pieces of defence equipment.

What is the SWYAAN and what do you do as an Ambassador?

The SWYAAN is a network of current and graduating apprentices who, through their experience in apprenticeships, showcase the benefits of choosing an alternative route into a successful career rather than the traditional A-levels and university. As an ambassador, I tell my apprenticeship story to influence young people’s options about the opportunities apprenticeships provide: gaining highly sought-after skills, first-class training and, most importantly, experience of working life with the additional benefits of being an employee and a student.

What advice would you give to young people who might be considering an apprenticeship?

If you’re even slightly considering an apprenticeship, go for it! To maximise your chances, ensure that you research the employer and the apprenticeship standard to determine whether it is the right fit for you and your skillset. Once you’re happy, apply! It opens a world of opportunity and you will never look back on.

ELLA HYMANS

I'm a Digital Marketing Apprentice at Exeter College. I work as part of the Apprenticeship Team and therefore engage with both Apprentices and Employers as a part of my day to day role. This can be anything from print marketing to digital/social media marketing to events management.

What is the SWYAAN and what do you do as an Ambassador?

I am a part of the SWYAAN Comms team. This means that not only do I go out to school as an ambassador sharing my story, I also help with the communications and marketing of SWYAAN. I focus mostly on design, creating info-graphics and other resources to send out to both those looking to become an apprentice and current ambassadors.

What advice would you give to young people who might be considering an apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is not just for those who can't get into University, it is an equal alternative to University. At my school it was implied Apprenticeships were only for non-academics, but anyone with nearly any career goals can do an Apprenticeship and get where they want to be. I was always more of an academic in school and an Apprenticeship has suited me perfectly because I can learn my job while actually doing my job - rather than just the former.

COURTNEY SLATER

I am 18 and an apprentice Technician with a fibreoptic company in Brixham. I attended Spires College and South Devon High School passing all my GCSE’s. Knowing I wanted  an apprenticeship rather than continue my academic studies I did a one-year Level 2 Engineering course which helped me get the apprenticeship with Effect Phototonics.

What is the SWYAAN and what do you do as an Ambassador?

The South West Young Apprentice Ambassador Network is a community of young people passionate about apprenticeships. My goal is to spread the word about how good apprenticeships are, debunking myths about them. I go into schools and careers events to talk about my experience/answer any questions students may have. I also do social media posts about my work with the SWYAAN.

What advice would you give to young people who might be considering an apprenticeship?Keep your options open and look around. Don’t be afraid to apply for more than one job so you can assess the best opportunity, company and future for you. Ask for work experience and don’t be afraid to do work experience with more than one company – this will help in your decision making. Speak to others who are doing an apprenticeship to get a picture of what it is really like and see if they have any advice for you.

OLIVER TYACK

I’m Oliver and am in my first year of a five year apprenticeship to become a chartered RICS Quantity Surveyor working for TDA in Torquay. I study on a day release basis at The University of The West of England in Bristol as part of a Level 6 apprenticeship in BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management.

What is the SWYAAN and what do you do as an Ambassador?

They champion the amazing opportunities which apprenticeships can offer. Sometimes
apprenticeships are perceived to be undervalued by businesses and in turn overlooked by young people. In the SWYAAN team we help to change these views, build awareness and share our own experiences. This is why I became an ambassador enabling me to promote apprenticeships at jobs fairs, school assemblies and other community events.

What advice would you give to young people who might be considering an apprenticeship?You get paid, meet a whole range of people, get on the job training from experienced people in the workplace. The support is second to none; you are contributing to the economy, improving the world and have no student debt, which make it easier to have a good lifestyle. What’s not to love? Through this method of learning I am balancing both theory and work experience, understand the context of the job unlike full time university studies. You don’t just learn the industry - you are the industry!

ROSIE UNDERHILL

I’m 20 years old and work in Torbay at a Special Needs School providing specialist education for children and young people that have mild to moderate learning difficulties and for children that are physically disabled. I am currently undertaking a Level 3 apprenticeship in Supporting Specialist Teaching and Learning in Schools. My apprenticeship will take between 18 months to 2 years to complete where I will then be a fully qualified Level 3 Teaching Assistant.

What is the SWYAAN and what do you do as an Ambassador?

Since joining the South West Young Ambassador Network, I have been able to encourage, support and inspire the next generation of apprentices. Being part of the SWYAAN has also given me the opportunity to overturn some of the myths young people have about apprenticeships. I have been able to promote my organisation alongside engaging young people to consider undertaking an apprenticeship after they finish their academic studies at school or college.

What advice would you give to young people who might be considering an apprenticeship?

As an apprentice the advice I would give to someone considering applying for an apprenticeship is as follows:

  • Research all the possible apprenticeship opportunities in your area

  • Do something you enjoy as this will make working life a lot more enjoyable

  • Consider the different levels of apprenticeships

  • Don’t just think in the present look to the future