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Emma Waitzman Stonemason York Minster WEB

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

York College is celebrating the successes and achievements of hundreds of apprentices during National Apprenticeship Week (3rd - 7th February).

Working and studying at the same time is a great career move, whatever your age. Being able to earn money, achieve a qualification and gain invaluable work and industry experience is what apprenticeships are about.

York College delivers a range of Apprenticeships covering occupational areas such as Accountancy, Construction, Business Administration, Hospitality, Hairdressing, Engineering, Digital Technologies and Science.

Kerry Jephson, Head of Employer Engagement at York College says: “An Apprenticeship is a real job with a contract of employment which is supported by a detailed and specific training programme. At York College we offer a wide range of Apprenticeship training programmes and our students find this style of learning to be most effective. We are always looking for more local employers to work with us, to engage with apprenticeships for new and existing staff, to support their business growth strategy and success planning to future-proof the skill-set of their business. Apprenticeships provide a fantastic opportunity for both employers and students.”

Here are some apprentices who are reaping the benefits of their training:

Andrew Benjamin is an Electrical Installation Apprentice at Dunnington Electrical.

Andrew says: “I was looking for more on-site experience and the apprentice route enabled me to learn on the job.” He adds: “This experience is invaluable, I am practically applying what I’m learning in real situations and that is what sets apprentices apart. The practical application of my skills has enabled me to learn more skills and has improved my job prospects.”Dunnington Electrical made Andrew feel part of the team and involved him in all aspects of the job from the very start. Each day Andrew faces fresh challenges and his colleagues help him to see what is needed, he says: “It’s all about learning in a real world environment and gaining experience whilst earning a wage.”Site Manager Paul Hawley adds: “It’s useful to have another skill-set and a fresh pair of eyes, and it’s good to have someone keen and willing to learn on the job. Andrew’s skills are particularly useful when I am working on bigger jobs, enabling me to focus on the more technical aspects and trusting Andrew to take care of the other bits. Apprentices are needed for the future of the trade, it’s only through on-site experience and working with tradespeople that skills are developed.”

Emma Waitzman is a Stonemasonry Apprentice at York Minster

Emma moved from Prestwick to York to pursue her passion for stonemasonry. Choosing to study stonemasonry at Levels 1 and 2 at York College gave her a deeper understanding of the trade and secured her a much sought-after apprenticeship at York Minster.

Emma says: “My apprenticeship has helped me to gain experience that simply isn’t possible in the classroom. Working closely with master craftspeople and observing how things are done in practice is experience that you can’t get in any other way and has helped to develop my skills.”
Emma has many friends at York Minster and says her work place is a real community that helps her to progress and thrive. Emma says: “Working and studying is my favourite part of being an apprentice. I put theory into practice, and it is so rewarding. This style of learning helps to enforce all the lessons I am learning. A real highight for me is knowing I have two pieces of work in York Minster.”

Emma will look at further professional qualifications whilst continuing to work in the trade and in the future hopes to pursue work abroad, perhaps in Germany.

Karis Smith is a Hairdressing Apprentice at Shabby to Chic

Karis felt the more traditional education route was not for her and realised that an apprenticeship enabled her to learn in a more practical way and to become qualified.

Karis explains: “I see the results of my work whilst learning on the job, dealing with customers and the different aspects of the trade. I watch the people who do this job day to day and their customer interaction is so important, it can’t be taught in the same way in a classroom.”

At Shabby to Chic Karis has her own client base and is developing in areas where she wants to practice specialist skills. She says: “Pleasing my customers pushes me to get better at what I do, and I use what I learn at College and implement it in the workplace. This experience is the best. I feel more prepared for the workplace and more confident to get a full time job now.”

During National Apprenticeship Week York College is hosting an Apprenticeships and Partnerships event at Bedern Hall. The event provides an opportunity for local employers to see how they can work in partnership with York College, to engage, recruit and develop future employees. There will be information about apprenticeship courses and wider working partnerships including work experience opportunities, commercial short courses and curriculum planning.A panel of employers will answer questions from delegates. The event, on the morning of Wednesday 5th February, is open to local employers interested to forge links with York College. Employers can book onto the event via Eventbrite.

There is also an opportunity for students to meet with employers at the next York College Open Evening on 11th February 2020.