09 Mar 2017
But what's it really like to do an apprenticeship with Stagecoach? To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we asked some of our apprentices to share their stories. Catch up with Part One and Part Two.
Throughout school it was instilled in me that I had to work hard in order to get good grades, so that I could get into a good university. I always struggled to learn in a classroom environment. Sitting at a desk, listening, and writing very quickly became boring for me. What was the supposed end goal - a place at university- became a less and less inviting prize, and very soon 'Sam is capable of much more than this' became a reoccurring theme. I left school at 16 without much of a plan, I just wanted to be out of the education system. I started work at a local printing company, where, when talking to some of the older guys there, I learnt about apprenticeships, something that I had very little prior knowledge of. Unfortunately the business I was working for took a turn for the worse, so I set out looking for work elsewhere, which is when I applied to Stagecoach at 18.
A different way of learning. I have always been a very hands-on person. Show me how to do something with my hands, something physical I can hold, and I can absorb the information much better than reading it from a book. I could learn, get industry-wide recognised qualifications, end up with a job with security, all whilst being paid too do it? Seemed like a no brainer to me.
Without dwelling on others' misery too much, not long after completing the fourth year of my apprenticeship, and I was offered a full time position as a fully skilled shift fitter with Stagecoach, I met up with a few old friends from school, all of whom had carried on within the 'mainstream' education system, all had graduated university within the last year, with degrees in all sorts of things I had never heard of. At the time, only one of them was working, using his photography degree to develop 1 hour films at Snappy Snaps. To have been the one who 'dropped out' of school, being debt free, and earning a very competitive salary, made me realise I had made the right choice for me. Since time has passed most of them have progressed onto decent jobs, however, not one of them in the field the studied, or are interested in.
Since completing my Apprenticeship, Stagecoach have offered countless other opportunities. I enrolled in a development course with training aimed towards getting a management position, by age 25 I was appointed Assistant Manager, and 2 years later I was Engineering Manager of my own depot with a fleet of over 60 vehicles. I am happy in my current role, but one day I plan on moving to a management position at a larger depot, ultimately heading towards becoming a Director.
Absolutely, I am quite passionate that an apprenticeship is the right choice for a lot of people. Not everyone learns the same way, but if you are more hands on, learn by doing, and are not afraid to get dirty, it could well be the option for you.