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WAES celebrates National Apprenticeships Week

Throughout the week of 8 – 14 February, WAES joined the festivities of National Apprenticeship Week. Everyday WAES hosted online talks by a variety of departments and external partners. Below is an overview of some of the week’s events and how to find out more about Apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships vs Higher Education
Monday 8 February

Salma Begum, WAES Careers Co-ordinator, hosted the ‘Apprenticeships vs Higher Education’ event on Monday. The talk gave an opportunity to learn about pros and cons of both apprenticeships and higher education including student debts vs. earning while learning, and gaining practical skills vs. experiencing ‘university life’.

During the Q&A, many engaging discussions were had around what age limits or exclusions there are, when you can start an apprenticeship and where to find the vacancies. Many learners attending said they were interested to look for apprenticeship opportunities off the back of the talk, and the overall feedback stated that the session was “very informative”.

Apprenticeships at WAES and A Day in The Life of an Apprentice
Tuesday 9 February

WAES Apprenticeships and Employability Co-ordinator, Beth O’Connell, lead the Tuesday session for National Apprenticeship Week. The ‘Apprenticeships at WAES’ talk covered all the practical aspects of apprenticeships, from where to find them online, through to tips when applying and practical advice for interviews.

Following the presentation, Libraries, Information and Archives Apprentice, Zeba, gave an informative talk on her day-to-day role as a Library Apprentice with Westminster City Council. The learners wanted to know more about how she had secured her role, so she also described her own experience of the application process and detailed some of the questions she had been asked in her interview.

By the end of the session many learners were asking to have further one-on-one sessions with Beth to talk about their next steps to secure an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships with HS2
Thursday 11 February

Thursday’s National Apprenticeship Week session was hosted by external partner, HS2 Ltd. The presentation gave an overview of the HS2 project and the areas that apprenticeship opportunities may arise including in Design, Construction, Engineering, Environment and Business. At the peak of the project, HS2 will create 30,000 jobs, with a plan to include 2,000 apprenticeships.

During the talk learners also heard directly from two current apprentices including Lisa, a 19-year-old Civil-Engineering Apprentice who is also studying alongside the apprenticeship scheme at the University of East London to gain a BEng in Civil Engineering. Asked about her opinion of the apprenticeship, Lisa said the one word to describe it was “opportunity” and that it “opened your circle to the best people in the business”.

The second apprentice to speak, Orche, a 33-year-old husband and father, started his Project Management Apprenticeship as a change of career after years working in Sales & Business Development. He emphasised that there were a variety of age ranges and levels of experience on the scheme and that “apprenticeships are for all!”

When asked for tips on applications and interview processes, the HS2 team stressed to demonstrate motivation and passion about why you applied for the particular role, and suggested gaining work experience before applying if possible. Qualifications in basic Maths, English and IT were also recommended and they advised learners to upskill if they need to.

Applications for HS2 Apprenticeships starting September 2021 are currently live on their website. But hurry, applications are only being accepted until 1 March!

If you would like to find out more about HS2 or apply, please visit their website here. If you need to upskill your English & Maths or IT qualifications to improve your application, WAES have courses available to help. Please call the centre on 020 7297 7297 and they will be able to advise.

Apprenticeships and Employment in Westminster
Thursday 11 February

On Thursday Reham El-Sharkawy from Westminster Employment Service (WES) held a session to talk about Apprenticeships and Employment in Westminster. This presentation explained all the services and support that are available for Westminster residents looking to begin an apprenticeship or gain any form of employment, and where they can go to access this support.

There was then a Q&A session where WAES Learners got involved in the discussion, with several sharing their own experiences of becoming unemployed because of the COVID-19 crisis. Many wanted to start making the most of these services immediately, and organised further one-on-one sessions as soon as possible with Reham for personalised support and guidance.

If you have been inspired by the above and would like to find out more about our Apprenticeship schemes at WAES please visit our Apprenticeships and Traineeships page or email us with your query.