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Apprenticeships - a Growing Trend at Bolton School

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In recent years, a growing trend at Bolton School has been both the taking on of apprentices and of students embarking on apprenticeships after their A levels. 

In National Apprenticeship Week, we caught up with seven apprentices currently at Bolton School. Josh Foy, who has been in the ICT Department for over three years, is currently undertaking an IT degree apprenticeship through QA Training and the University of Roehampton. He periodically spends time in Manchester and Leeds attending to the academic side of the course but he is predominantly a full-time member on the IT helpdesk.  Daniel Stone and Naeem Khondoker, both aged 16, also work in the ICT Department – in a week, each spends 4 days at Bolton School and a day at Bolton College. 

Level 3 IT apprentice Naeem Khondoker has his eyes set on university and would like to progress to an IT Degree Apprenticeship. He said: “Being an apprentice works for me. I was never too fond of studying in a classroom environment, so working whilst I’m learning is ideal. I’m now starting to work on bigger jobs, fixing Apple TVs and projectors ­— it’s been a great learning experience and I’m also earning a wage at the same time.” 

Hayley Yaffe works as a Nursery apprentice and has been at the school for 2 years; she is due to finish her apprenticeship, coordinated by Bolton College, this summer. She hopes to take up a permanent role at the School after completing her apprenticeship. Katie Schofield and Megan Crilley, also apprentices at the Nursery, are with Alliance Learning and have been at the School since last summer; both also hope to make the positions permanent after their apprenticeships end later this year. 

Sam Hindley is with Alliance Learning and is currently an apprentice working in the School’s leisure activities business – BSS Leisure. During his two and a half years at the school, he has already passed his Business Administration Level 2 apprenticeship and is now undertaking Level 3 and is due to complete in six months. 

Apprenticeships in the Maintenance and Estates departments are due to be launched shortly. 

The School regularly sees trainee teachers within its walls and recently became a partner and hub in a Department for Education (DfE) drive to recruit more teachers in shortage subject areas, namely the National Maths and Physics SCITT (School-Centred Initial Teacher Training) and the National Modern Foreign Languages SCITT. 

Upon completion of their A levels, students are increasingly considering apprenticeships. Philip Britton, Headmaster of the Boys' Division, said: "Apprenticeships, especially where they are in the professions such as accountancy and law, as well as a number of other places, are rising as a preferred destination for some pupils. Where ‘on the job’ experience and understanding are the main thing, as well as when professional accreditation matters more than a degree, it can make great sense to start earning whilst training rather than build up the costs of a degree. 

No doubt some still think of apprenticeships in an old fashioned way but choosing a good one can be a really good choice. One boy a few years ago joined a top accountancy firm in this way with grades that would have taken him to a top university and he has never looked back." 

Sue Hincks, Headmistress of the Girls' Division, added: "Apprenticeships are often an excellent way for a young person to gain qualifications and learn professional skills, whilst earning a wage. 

We have seen a number of former students decide to follow a degree apprenticeship route, rather than go to university, especially in areas where vocational skills are prized, such as engineering and finance. 

It takes a bit of thinking outside the box for a young person to follow that route, rather than join the herd in applying to a university, but the benefits in terms of advancing one’s career at pace cannot be denied."​

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