To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we asked current and former apprentices to tell us about their experience so that we could share that with you. We were so pleased at the range of responses and the passion that many apprentices feel about this point in their careers. Maybe it will inspire you to do the same.
How did you start your apprenticeship?
Anirban Biswas: Before I joined Sussex Police, I was working for London Gatwick Airport for 12 years. I was part of a team which maintained safety and security of an aerodrome. Initially I applied for the role in the diversity team within policing. Although I wasn’t successful in my first attempt, one day I received a call from the recruitment sergeant who asked me to apply for the role of a PCSO.
Laura Herbert: From the age of 16-22 I served in the British Army and then started working for Sussex Police in the contact centre taking 999 and 101 calls as well as completing crime reports. It got to a stage where I wanted to be the person going out and be on the front line. I applied internally when the PCSO apprenticeship vacancy came up and started my application.
Lauren Bradshaw: Prior to starting my apprenticeship I worked as an Animal Rescue Officer for the RSPCA helping to rescue sick and injured animals. I really enjoyed the ‘hands on’ side of the job and having worked alongside the fire and rescue service and seeing what they did, I started to investigate fire careers. I saw on social media that Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service was recruiting for Community Safety and Firefighter apprentices. This really appealed to me as it would give me the opportunity to work within different areas of the service which would give me a better insight to the overall organisation.
What has been the best part of your apprenticeship journey?
Elice Schnable: The best part throughout the apprenticeship is making some close friends with my squad I had while at training school. Also just still being able to learn something new through the job and being able to meet all new people.
Helen Pettersson: The support and encouragement of my watch, my Station Managers and the college – they were with me every step of the way and I couldn’t have done it without them.
Lauren Bradshaw: The best part for me has been getting out in the community and educating people to be safer in their homes. The prevention work that we do is so important as this contributes towards allowing people to live their lives safely. I also get to meet many different people from all walks of life which is great.
How did you prepare for your End-Point Assessment and how was your experience of it?
Helen Pettersson: I completed a mock assessment (which was great for asking any questions I had prior to the assessment) in preparation. The assessment itself was a question/answer style format on the topics I had been working on throughout the apprenticeship. The assessor was very friendly and reassuring and helped me to feel relaxed so that my exam nerves didn’t get in the way of my exam performance.
Laura Herbert: I had two mock presentations with my Professional Development Assessor and made sure I knew my Operational Competence Portfolio through and through. My experience when doing my EPA was great, the assessor was friendly and made me feel comfortable.
Jolanta Paledzka: I practiced with my crew in the drill yard for the practical part of the assessment. Listening to the feedback from the crew and paying attention to the detail was essential.
What tips do you have for people who are interested in undertaking an apprenticeship in emergency and public services?
Anirban Biswas: I would encourage everyone to explore this opportunity. Not to give up when it gets tough because there are always people there to support and guide you.
Charlie Thomas: Firefighter apprenticeships are competitive, and often a lot of applications are received. Apprenticeships are for people from any background and at any age, so don’t let stereotypes hold you back. Take time to write your application and use examples from a range of scenarios and experiences.
Lauren Bradshaw: I was a little sceptical about applying as I was under the impression that apprenticeships were for people coming out of school. I was 36 years old when I applied, and it has turned out to be the best decision I’ve made. My advice to you would be don’t let your age be a barrier for something you want to do, age is just a number.
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