Case Studies

We are proud of our Apprentices and Trainees so we would like to share with you some of recent success stories.

Apprentice Shawn Nicol left a job working at a supermarket chain to pursue his dream of a career in IT – and has found the perfect platform working as an apprentice at Buckinghamshire New University and studying at Aylesbury College.

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Shawn, 21, is one of a number of apprentices Bucks New University has taken on and he joined Bucks after working for Sainsbury’s in High Wycombe. Fulfilling a dream to work in IT, he now works in Desktop Services. He said: “I was becoming frustrated with my job at Sainsbury’s and thought that if I really wanted to work in IT then I had to save some money and make the move. “I knew that if I put my mind to it I could do well in my chosen career – I just needed someone to give me a chance.”

Shawn spotted the apprenticeship opportunity at Bucks while attending an open day at Aylesbury College. His enthusiasm has impressed many at the University. Shawn’s responsibilities include managing day-to-day problems, including computer repairs; ensuring printers and other equipment are working correctly, as well as responding to staff who are having software problems.

He works at Bucks four days a week and is studying for a Level 3 NVQ in IT at Aylesbury College one day a week. Shawn is on a 12-month contract and hopes to pursue a more senior position, either inside or outside the University, when he finishes. “The apprenticeship seems to work for both parties as I have found something I enjoy and the University is benefiting from my enthusiasm, expertise and willingness to work hard,” he said.

Annette Gimbert, People Engagement Director at Bucks New University, said the apprenticeship scheme was a good opportunity to tie up on-the-job experience at the University with a qualification from Aylesbury College.

She said: “Apprentices have the training opportunities and we have the work opportunities. We give people skills and training over a 12-month period and there is always the chance that if vacancies arise, they could be in line to apply for those roles at the end of the apprenticeship. “They are all doing really well here and it is fantastic for us to be able to benefit these young people by developing and challenging them in the workplace.”

The investment in apprenticeships by Bucks New University and Aylesbury College comes at a time when the Government is looking to boost apprenticeship opportunities for young people.  New figures show that the number of new apprenticeships in England increased by around two-thirds to almost half a million last year. The Business Department said growth took place at all levels of learning, for every age range across the country.

The figures showed there were 457,200 apprenticeship starts in the 2010/11 academic year, an increase of 63.5% on the previous 12 months.

Darryl has always had a strong interest in technology, from video games consoles to mobile phones and took an apprenticeship in IT through Aylesbury College while working at RedZebra Software.

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“I had wanted to take on an apprenticeship since I was in secondary school. I was keen to enter a real working environment and make some money, but also knew that I should try to further my education,” says Darryl. “I preferred the idea of an apprenticeship over university; since it is work based, it is more likely to lead to a full-time position afterwards.”

Darryl’s apprenticeship lasted for one year, earning a Level 3 BTEC in IT at the end of his course. “I am now working full time at RedZebra Software, where I am given the responsibilities of providing support for customers, creating and modifying reports, and creating and maintaining databases, among other things,” Darryl stated.

Richard Crafts, Managing Director of RedZebra Software commented, “The apprenticeship [program] worked well for RedZebra and helped us to take a more staged growth [approach] whilst training someone for a full-time position with the skills and experience required. The format of the course also worked well and the information and support provided by the College made it a straightforward process. We will be looking to begin another apprentice in the near future and to work alongside Aylesbury College, which has proved to be a successful partnership.”

I have been at Aylesbury College working as an apprentice in the Human Resources department for nearly a year now and I have enjoyed every minute I have been here. With this being my first full time job I have gained so much knowledge and experience during my time which is going to really help me in years to come. The team I work with are great and have been nothing but supportive of me and the work I have been doing.

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I decided I wanted to do an apprenticeship because I felt I wasn’t yet experienced or qualified enough for the working world. It’s been
the best stepping stone into Full time work because I am getting on the job training working full time, getting paid for it and also getting a formal qualification at the end of it and coming out more qualified and experienced which is going to help me when applying for future jobs.

Currently my future plans are to stay working in HR and to gain more knowledge. This apprenticeship has shown me that I am doing
something I enjoy and something I want to pursue and progress further into. Since completing my apprenticeship I have been offered a
full time, permanent position in the HR department with the title HR Assistant.

World of work here I come!

Eloise Chatwin has successfully completed an apprenticeship as a general assistant at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre and has now been employed as a Food and Beverage Assistant.

The 18-year-old completed an Apprenticeship in Catering qualification with Aylesbury College while working at Missenden Abbey, which is owned by Buckinghamshire New University.

Eloise completed Level 2 and Level 3 Apprenticeships during an 18-month apprenticeship.

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She said: “I feel very excited that I managed to achieve a level in my apprenticeship that made my employers want to keep me on and extend my role to a full-time position. I feel that without my apprenticeship, this opportunity would not have been possible. My apprenticeship prepared me for my full-time position because if I were to make a mistake, I was able to learn from it and develop my skills with support from my team members. My apprenticeship has made me feel confident to succeed in my full-time role thanks to the experience I have gained.”

Eloise says she one day dreams of owning a pub and feels closer to that goal thanks to the apprenticeship. She added: “I feel that my experience as an apprentice and now my full-time role in food and beverage has given me the skills I need to pursue this dream. I have gained experience in front of house customer service, navigating my way around a busy bar, and taking on responsibilities of successful running of events.”

During her time at Missenden Abbey she has also met Royalty in the shape of The Earl of Wessex when His Royal Highness chaired the annual meeting of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation’s International Council at the venue. The Royal visitor was chairing the two-day governance meeting at the conference centre when he took time out of his busy schedule to meet with young apprentices working at the Abbey.

Kathy Cousins, Hospitality Manager at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre, said: “In the first instance you meet Eloise it is clear she is an intelligent determined ambitious young lady.

“In the time she has been here Eloise has become a valuable member of our team.”

Annette Gimbert, People Engagement Director at Bucks New University, said the apprenticeships scheme was a good opportunity to tie up on-the-job experience at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre with a qualification from Aylesbury College.

She said: “It is fantastic for Missenden Abbey Conference Centre, Aylesbury College and Bucks New University, to be able to benefit these young people by developing and challenging them in the workplace.”

Tim Keighley, Executive Director Engagement and Business Development at Aylesbury College, said the Apprenticeship programme had been ‘hugely successful’.

He said: “I am particularly proud of the work we have done with Bucks New University and the team at Missenden Abbey, where the young people have worked hard and deserve their success. We are now looking for more young people to take advantage of the apprenticeship programme.”

Trainee chef Emma Quarmby has certainly been chucked in at the deep end since starting an apprenticeship at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre.

Emma, 18, has an 18-month contract at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre as a trainee chef, where she is studying one day a week towards an Apprentice Catering qualification at Aylesbury College. Emma started at Missenden Abbey working towards a Level 2 apprenticeship and has since gone on to Level 3 which will finish in June 2014.

Since starting at Missenden Abbey, Emma has had the opportunity to do everything from cutting up monkfish and salmon to ‘plating up’ dishes to serve to customers. She said she was enjoying the responsibility of serving food for customers and learning new skills.

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Emma said: “So far my apprenticeship has helped me gain experience working with qualified and experienced chefs in a fast environment, getting to learn from them in a hands-on fashion. Not only have my cooking skills improved, but I have learned valuable skills that are vital for a chef to know, such as dietary requirements and hygiene. The apprenticeship is setting me up for my future. I would love a job baking specialist cakes or perhaps to run a bakery or patisserie. I would advise young people considering doing an apprenticeship at Aylesbury College to go for it! They are really supportive with helpful tutors that help set you up for the real world giving you the experience you need so that there are no surprises when it comes to full-time employment.”

During her time at Missenden Abbey she has also met Royalty in the shape of The Earl of Wessex when His Royal Highness chaired the annual meeting of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation’s International Council at the venue. The Royal visitor was chairing the two-day governance meeting at the conference centre when he took time out of his busy schedule to meet with young apprentices working at the Abbey.

Philip Child, Head Chef at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre, said he had been impressed with Emma’s work since she started her apprenticeship.

He said: “Since Emma Quarmby has joined our team she has proven to be enthusiastic and a great asset to the team, who is willing to learn. We are all looking forward to continuing to work with Emma and other apprentices in the near future.”

Annette Gimbert, People Engagement Director at Bucks New University, said the apprenticeships scheme was a good opportunity to tie up on-the-job experience at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre with a qualification from Aylesbury College.

She said: “It is fantastic for Missenden Abbey Conference Centre, Aylesbury College and Bucks New University, to be able to benefit these young people by developing and challenging them in the workplace.”

Tim Keighley, Executive Director Engagement and Business Development at Aylesbury College, said the Apprenticeship programme had been ‘hugely successful’.

He said: “I am particularly proud of the work we have done with Bucks New University and the team at Missenden Abbey, where the young people have worked hard and deserve their success. We are now looking for more young people to take advantage of the apprenticeship programme.”