Kiwi Education, an NCFE centre and award-winning training provider, provides an innovative commercial training offer to employers. Kiwi Education has first-hand experience of how valuable apprenticeships can be, as one of its own directors started
out as an apprentice himself.
Michael Steel, Kiwi Education’s director of operations, undertook an apprenticeship and worked his way up to the senior position he holds today. He said: “Nowadays, people do see apprenticeships as a viable option, but it certainly wasn’t like that when I started my apprenticeship. Apprenticeships were seen as the poor relation; most people wanted to go down the academic road and go to university.
“I decided to do an apprenticeship because I wanted to start working, start gaining skills and start earning money. It was a great way to start getting work experience for my CV and to build my career within an organisation. I gained the skills I needed and was employed full-time at the end of the year-long course.
“It’s really important for me to know that we’re giving young people opportunities in our local community, and that they can gain the tools and skills they need to take the first step – and next step – of their career.”
One of the employers Kiwi Education works with is Costa Coffee. 20-year-old Conrad Bunday is one of the company’s apprentices and has already seen the benefits of taking this route. He has completed a Level 3 apprenticeship and is now the manager of a Costa Coffee store.
Conrad said: “When I was 16, I didn’t particularly want to go to college because I wanted to get work experience, so I went for an interview for an apprenticeship with Costa Coffee. I was placed in a store and three months later I progressed to supervisor level. From there I completed my Level 2 and moved up to assistant manager. I’ve now achieved Level 3 and was happy to progress to manager, running my own store, having my own staff and my own targets.
“My highlight has been competing at national level for ‘barista of the year’, and to be recognised not only by others in the apprenticeship world but also by my own company. Doing an apprenticeship was my lifeline as it gave me the opportunity to go into education and into work at the same time.
“I would love to go down the training route in order to help others to progress and to give back to the company what they’ve given to me.”
Another of Kiwi Education’s employer customers is Microlink PC (UK). Microlink’s chief executive, Nasser Siabi, has found apprenticeships to be advantageous to the business: “We can mould individuals to the job, so it’s a very good way to employ and grow future talent.”
In addition, Kiwi Education is committed to hiring apprentices to work in its own office, such as Lindsey Churchyard, who commented: “I was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship and have progressed quickly, becoming a full-time administrator within eight months.”
Real life examples like these show just how beneficial apprenticeships can be, providing young people who don’t want to go down the academic route with a viable alternative so that they can earn while they learn, and also helping employers to plug skills gaps.