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It’s National Apprenticeship Week. A former ThinkForward student talks about the benefit of doing an apprenticeship

Ossama is  former ThinkForward student. He went to Swanlea School in Tower Hamlets, London, where his coach Ash helped him choose the right career path.

‘I thought about going to university, but I knew it wasn’t really for me because I’m not good at learning in a classroom, I need to learn in a more practical way and that’s one of the ways I benefit from doing an apprenticeship. 

I didn’t like school at all and wanted to get out as soon as possible. Ash, my ThinkForward coach knew I didn’t enjoy school and he really helped me think about life and look at the big picture. Together we worked out that an apprenticeship could be the right thing for me.

After school I went to a training provider called QA, and did a traineeship for IT and Business Admin apprenticeships which helped to prepare me for getting an apprenticeship. I did a work placement with an organisation called Free2learn and when that finished they offered me a 14 month apprenticeship.

It’s much harder to get a job if you don’t have work experience, but doing an apprenticeship means I can get qualifications while working.  I’m doing a BTEC level 3 in business admin while working with Free2learn.

I choose to work five days and study at home in the evening. I didn’t pass my maths or English GCSEs, so I am doing Level 2 functional skills in those subjects instead, as part of my apprenticeship. I’m older now and have a different attitude to learning too, I realise how important it is.

Doing an apprenticeship means I am working, learning and earning all at the same time. I’m getting paid and I’m not building up any debt. I’ve got two months more to do on my apprenticeship and I’ve already been told that I’ve got a secure position at the end. I’ll get a pay rise then too.

I think apprenticeships are the right thing for some people. An apprenticeship was definitely the right option for me. I really enjoy what I do, and I feel confident doing it.

Two or three years ago I didn’t have a plan and I couldn’t have imagined then, that I would be working and doing an apprenticeship now. My next ambition is to become an office manager.’