Milton Keynes College Group has been celebrating its apprenticeship successes as part of National Apprenticeship Week, and the stories of those graduating show how apprenticeships can change lives. They’ve held an award ceremony for the best of the best, like carpenter, Dan Burton, construction apprentice of the year.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I left school. Before starting the apprenticeship, I worked as a delivery driver and even considered joining the army. I thought pursuing a trade would be a perfect fit for me.
“I considered just getting a job and learning as I go, but then I realised that with an apprenticeship, I could work and learn, and earn a qualification at the end. I opted for carpentry. Working four days a week suited me better than being in College full-time.
“I completed my apprenticeship with Go Large Design and Build. It’s a brilliant company to work with. We handle all sorts of projects, from renovations to new builds, and now I’ve graduated, I’ve got a full-time job there. I definitely recommend the apprenticeship route; you learn so much when you’re actually on the job. It’s hands-on, practical, and you’re right in the thick of things. That’s where the real learning happens.
“I need to thank my tutor at the College, Brendan, who was really helpful. He played a big part in helping me to pass. In a few years, I’d like to start my own business. Maybe I’ll even have my own team of employees one day.”
Georgina Williams didn’t really enjoy school and didn’t want to go into the sixth form, so decided to take up a professional cookery apprenticeship. Winner of the contribution to community and workplace apprentice of the year award, she says she fell in love with working with food.
“I started my apprenticeship at Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa and I admit that after school, working 10-12 hours a day and late nights was a bit of a shock. But my college tutor helped me adapt to the chef’s life, as he was a chef himself and gave me advice on how to cope.
“During my course I was promoted to working in the three-rosette restaurant, Murrays. I also entered two cookery competitions, getting a merit in the first and a silver medal in the second.
“I’m also a project ambassador for a hospitality charity – The Burnt Chef Project – which promotes positivity in the hospitality industry.
“I completed my apprenticeship in December 2023 with three distinctions. Now, I always suggest to friends to do an apprenticeship. You get college life and get to go somewhere new, but you also gain work experience and earn your own money as well.
“I’m considering doing the next level apprenticeship online next. I plan to stay where I am working now to learn the entire kitchen and I’m also hoping to raise lots of money for the Burnt Chef Project in the future.”
College Group Principal and CEO, Sally Alexander, says, “Dan and Georgina’s stories are so very familiar to everyone who’s worked with apprenticeships. Watching people grow into their careers, guided by expert tutors while working on the job is a fabulous thing to see. Their confidence builds as they gain both knowledge and experience, and that brings with it real self-esteem and sense of achievement. What’s more, the businesses they work for can mould their learning and training to turn them into ideal employees. We’re all every proud of all our award winners. They’re a credit to their college and also to their companies.”
Companies interested in taking on an apprentice and would-be apprentices should contact email@example.com