Staff and students at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College (QE), Darlington, have fully embraced National Apprenticeship Week by inviting three former students to come and speak about applying for apprenticeships and to offer advice on how to be successful with applications. The former students spoke in length about the different stages of applying for apprenticeships, from providing guidance on how to produce a stand out covering letter to giving a detailed insight into how to prepare for an interview, allowing current students to secure a strong head start with their applications. They then shared their own experiences of working as apprentices. Emma Beauchamp, a Technical Sales Engineer for Northumbria Optical Coatings, discussed her chartered management degree apprenticeship and how she changed career once qualified leading to her current role. Emma has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to apprenticeships and skills and she is also the Co-Vice Chair for the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network. Iona Vasey secured A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths, and is now in the fourth year of her apprenticeship with Cummins Engines as an Advanced Technical Engineer. Iona spoke about the opportunity to work across different departments as an apprentice before deciding on which area of engineering she wanted to specialise in, something she said was incredibly helpful. Aaron Thomas studied A Level Maths, Physics and Geology at QE and currently works as a Project Leader for Labman Automation in Stokesley. He explained how he was given the chance to take on responsibility for projects throughout his apprenticeship.

Student, Elsa Butler, comments: ‘I found speaking with the former students extremely beneficial as I was able to find about the range of opportunities available to me. It was also encouraging to see engineering apprenticeships being represented by women’. Liz Bryan, Higher Education and Careers Adviser at QE, adds: ‘It is wonderful to see our ex-students return to College and hear about their successes. More importantly, they are able to provide current students with good advice on securing jobs and how they can ensure a successful application. We appreciate the time and support they provide which is invaluable’.

For more information on National Apprenticeship Week, please contact Liz Bryan ([email protected]).