Jane Holland-Roe, from Kent County Council’s Community Learning & Skills programme, bangs the drums for apprenticeships….

APPRENTICESHIP programmes have evolved since the early days of craft-based training and are no longer vocational training programmes just for boys and young men.

Many occupations now offer a variety of modern apprenticeship programmes and they are a great way to enter in to a number of well-paid occupations.

They no longer confine themselves to the traditional areas of manufacturing and construction but also in health care, transportation, ICT, Law, engineering media and business administration, as well as numerous others.

In contrast to historical appren- ticeships, modern programmes are open to both men and women and the variety of occupations has something to suit everyone. Modern apprenticeship programmes provide both on-the- job training and classroom instruction, allowing apprentices to earn wages while learning a professional trade or occupational skill.

Apprentices usually start by taking on simple tasks and progress to more complex tasks as time goes on.

At the end of the programme, the apprentice receives a certificate of completion and can achieve full time employment. In general, modern apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete, depending on the level of the programme, the apprentice's ability and the industry sector. For example, an Intermediate level 2 apprenticeship usually takes around 12 to 18 months and an advanced level 3 apprenticeship around 24 months. On completion, you can continue to train for an advanced, higher, or degree level apprenticeship, or a related vocational qualification. The variety of apprenticeships available in Kent alone is testament to the success of the current programme with many apprentices being given full time employment after completing the training.

CASE STUDY Hayley Forsdyke, who works in a

business administration for the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Ashford started her apprenticeship in January.

Hayley’s reasons for applying for the apprenticeship with CCG were that she had always been interested in working for the NHS, but it meant she could learn about the organisation, whilst building skills and knowledge in her own role.

She said: “Apprenticeships are definitely worth it, it’s a great way to learn and work at the same time.”

CASE STUDY James was eager to find an

apprenticeship as he was aware of the learning opportunities that it brings, more so than a full- time job. He was originally interested in finding a mechanics apprenticeship, but his keen interest in the military attracted him to the role he saw advertised at the Maidstone army supplies shop Lower Stone Street, Semma4.

James had helped out there as part of a course a year earlier so was already familiar with the organisation and staff.

In a short time, say his employers, he had become confident and his product knowledge “immense”.

He hopes to stay on once his apprenticeship has finished. He added: “My friend was recently thinking about applying for an Apprenticeship and I told him to go for it.”

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