A QinetiQ Communications Integration Engineer praised The 5% Club as he told senior politicians of the positive impact learning skills on an apprenticeship programme had on his life.
Josh Campbell, 24, took centre stage in a panel discussion at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. He revealed how he turned away from the path of going for a university degree in order to pursue a mechatronic engineering apprenticeship instead. Before the packed conference hall, Skills Minister Nick Boles, asked him about his decision:
“I was set to go to university, I then decided I wanted to go down a route where I was given the opportunity to learn the theoretical side of things but also put it into a working practice so I took on an apprenticeship with DNS and did three years in mechatronic engineering which I have now successfully completed.”
Josh, who was joined on the platform by Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan, was asked what he felt he has gained from this experience:
“Training and learning while I earn. Skills for life and opportunities.”
He spoke enthusiastically about how this training also allowed him to experience incredibly diverse work and working environments – from ships and dock yards to aircrafts, and highlighted how no working week the same.
He was also asked whether he thought enough information was given about apprenticeships. He responded:
“Probably not. Everyone goes through the same process – schooling then applying together through UCAS and then going to university.
There needs to be more awareness made through things like The 5% club and stem activities where we are able to show that there are other opportunities”
After listening to Josh speak so highly of his experience, Mr Boles pointed out that, Josh himself was the best advocate for apprenticeship schemes.
Mr Boles said: “If you go into schools, people will really listen to you” and he encouraged parents, friends and neighbours to persuade young people like Josh that an apprenticeship is a ladder for a prosperous future.
Josh informed him: “I mentor a fifteen year old, year ten student. He was unsure of what direction to take in his future and asked my advice. I asked him: which route do you feel is best for you? He decided university was not for him, the apprenticeship option could be right”.
Josh summed up his thoughts to the conference when he said: “An apprenticeship can get you to whatever height you want, it gives you the opportunities and grounding you need to start your career. A lot of people don’t understand that you can get a degree through an apprenticeship. You are not choosing one or the other. ”