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To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week (9th – 13th March) York College is busy liaising with employers to ensure students receive the best options.

Lisa Rowntree, Head of Division for Engineering at York College visited Nestle in York to shadow Engineering apprentice Sara Barker.

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Sara is in the final year of her apprenticeship, studying Engineering at York College. She has been offered a place to study a degree from September in manufacturing and engineering. She says: "I grew up on a farm and have always played with engines and machines. It was something I wanted to do but didn't consider it as a career. At school I was a grade A student and was advised to take A levels which I did and didn't enjoy. Schools generally don't give high achieving students the option to do an apprenticeship, only offering them to lower achieving students, that's not how it should be. If I knew about this when I was 16 I would have come straight here. I now have the chance to study an engineering degree!"

Said Lisa Rowntree, Head of Division for Engineering: "Being involved with the Nestle production process was an absolute pleasure. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the work apprentices are involved with. It was a valuable experience that was superbly organised and I learnt so much!"

Nestle apprentices have their studies funded by the company, as well as receiving a wage, finishing with a recognised qualification and no student debt. When 21-year-old Sara secured her engineering apprenticeship at Nestle she was one of only two successful candidates from more than 200 applicants.

Steve Colquhoun, Apprentice Training Co-ordinator at Nestle in York, said: "We have launched a scheme where we take our apprentices through four different departments through a two-year scheme. They come out as well-rounded plant operator with good skills."

Sara said: "No two days are the same. You have no idea what you are coming in to on a morning. You are always learning. I couldn't imagine sitting at a desk and being at a computer all day. I like getting stuck in. I spoke to one colleague who started at Nestle when he was 14 years old and he knows so much. I hope I end up like that one day. They are really passionate about their jobs here, so it inspires me."

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Kerry Jephson, Employer Engagement Manager at York College said: "This week is an important week for us to highlight how vital apprenticeships can be. Sara's story really encompasses this. We have been lucky to have Bettys and Taylors come into College to speak to our engineering students about future opportunities with them. Members of the College Business Development Unit are supporting events with Portakabin as well as the York City Wide Apprenticeship Recruitment event. We have also welcomed employers from the Health and Social Care Industry into the college to speak to students about progression and career opportunities as well as holding an employer's business breakfast."

To find out about apprenticeships at York College contact the Business Development Unit on 01904 770368 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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