This week is national apprenticeship week, and we thought we’d sit down with our young IT apprentice Ryan to see what he’s made of working life at Chailey Heritage so far. Here’s what he said.
What do you think the trend is among your friends and young people in general around doing apprenticeships?
Most of them are going through uni at the moment to be honest. Almost all of my friend-group of around 15 people have chosen to go to uni, but one of them has done a hairdressing apprenticeship. He and I went through college together, and have both chosen apprenticeships.
Do you think apprenticeships are becoming more popular?
I think they are now that some degrees don’t seem to be so valuable. There are 2 other apprentices at Chailey Heritage – one in the aquatics team and one in the Life Skills Centre gym.
What made an apprenticeship the right choice for you?
I am a very practical person and I hate being lectured at. I can’t stand sitting in a class room and trying to grasp second hand experience.
What did you do on your first day at Chailey Heritage?
I learnt my way around the site, which is a much harder job than you’d think. I started getting familiar with all of our systems, and made sure that everyone liked me!
Were you nervous to start?
Yes especially in the first month. The first two to three months were really out of my comfort zone, so I had to calm down a little and find my rhythm. I was fine after that.
Did you come to Chailey Heritage straight from school?
Yes straight in. I was at college for 2 months in total. My first college dropped a load of the courses I was doing, so I left. The second one, I went to while I was scheduling my interview at Chailey. I was only there for about a week, because you HAVE to stay in education through the application progress. I got the phone call from Chailey on the Friday, and I left my second college that day.
What have you enjoyed most at Chailey Heritage so far?
The hands-on experience of everything, and the fact that everyone has been so nice to me.
What has been your biggest challenge at Chailey Heritage so far?
Becoming accustomed to a work environment. I came straight from school, and I’d never done any proper work before. Not unless you count little maintenance jobs for my Dad.
How happy were you when you found out you’d got the apprenticeship at Chailey Heritage?
I was so happy. I phoned my mum straight away and said ‘Mum I’ve got an apprenticeship. Are you happy now? I’ll have money, and I’ll be doing something I like’. It’s great, I was really happy to start.
Where does your interest in IT come from?
Gaming. Solidly from gaming. I’ve been gaming since I was around 5, and I started playing Crash Bandicoot on PlayStation 2.
What projects are in the pipeline at Chailey Heritage?
There’s a whole new internet connection that will be going live soon, which has been quite a big project. We’ve also been training the staff to use the systems that the young people at Chailey use, such as Eye Gaze.
How did you hear about the apprenticeship at Chailey Heritage?
I was going through .gov apprenticeship websites. You can upload your CV and set preferences around what you want to do. Also my friend’s mum had heard about it somehow and told me about it, but I’d already applied by then.
Overall, have you liked working at Chailey Heritage so far?
It’s been brilliant. Obviously I haven’t got any other things to base it on, but it’s been great. I love the team here, and they’ve all been really supportive.
Any final advice for people considering applying for an apprenticeship?
Do it, because you learn so much and having your own money is amazing. The transition from school to earning money here at Chailey Heritage is such a nice feeling. It’s more of an accomplishment now to go out and buy something because you can say to yourself ‘I did that. Not Mum or Dad, it was me!’.
Huge thanks to Ryan for letting us interview him, and we're hugely pleased he's enjoying working life at Chailey Heritage Foundation. We know he'll be a success.