16 March 2016

  1. As part of National Apprenticeship Week, ABC Awards marketing apprentice James Bruce has interviewed his fellow apprentices to find out what they enjoy about their apprenticeships and what their plans are for the future.

James started by interviewing Ben Saxton, who has worked as an IT apprentice for both ABC Awards and partner organisation emfec, and recently graduated at the Nottingham Albert Hall (pictured above next to Chief Executive Paul Eeles).

What apprenticeship have you completed and what made you want to do it?

I've done two apprenticeships now while working at emfec and ABC Awards, both the Level 3 and Level 4 IT and Networking apprenticeships. I never really enjoyed the theory based work done at school, so doing the practical side of things at work is a lot better for me.

What were you doing prior to your apprenticeship, and what do you prefer about apprenticeships?

I started my apprenticeship straight from school, apart from the three days I spent at sixth form before being offered the apprenticeship. I didn't really enjoy sixth form while I was there. It wasn't for me; I prefer the practical nature of apprenticeships.

What do you feel you have gained from completing your apprenticeships? Do you feel it has put you in a better position career-wise?

I think I've learnt a lot from my apprenticeship - I don't think anything compares to practical experience. I think that because of the practical nature of apprenticeships, I have managed to achieve a lot more than I would if I have gone to college or university. I always hated doing presentations on the board at school, and always preferred just getting stuck into my work.

How have the teams at emfec and ABC Awards supported you with your apprenticeship, and what opportunities have you been given?

I've been offered loads of opportunities. I started off dealing with first line support, just answering simple calls. Whereas now, I'm helping to create our new CRM and doing systems development work with lots of opportunities in that area of work. I've also learnt from the people around me, which is always helpful. I've had brilliant support from the team I work with.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship as a good stepping stone for young people who are unsure of their next steps after leaving school?

Yes, I would. I've learnt a lot more than I would have done if I had decided to stay at sixth form, school or college, plus you're earning while you're learning which is always a bonus. You're learning from people who have been working in the sector for years. It's great - you get paid and you get a lot of experience.

After completing your apprenticeship, what do you see for yourself in the future?

I'm hoping to do more on the development side because I've really started to enjoy that, playing with the design and making it look nice. I've been give the opportunity to do more of this and hope I can continue doing this in the future.

If you could change one thing about your apprenticeship, what would it be and why?

I'd change the negativity that surrounds apprenticeships, the fact that when I was at school everyone kept telling me not to do an apprenticeship because they're aimed at people who aren't qualified. I actually got told by somebody at school that I was too qualified to be an apprentice, which I think is daft. Apprenticeships are a good option and I've really enjoyed completing mine.