Leading to my decision to do an Apprenticeship in Environment and Conservation with the Urban Heaths Partnership (UHP) was an absolute determination to work outdoors and to learn – about nature; nomenclature, how to ‘read the land’, how to manage wildlife habitats and to encourage biodiversity. I wanted to be able to look at a place and say “right, let me show you why this is amazing.”
Apprenticeships are a great way to do that – learning as you go and on the job means experiencing your subject first hand. My independence is very important to me, so being able to earn as I learnt was essential.
I’m so lucky to get an apprenticeship in Dorset – with its diverse landscape, proximity to the sea and friendly people. Perfect.
The fact that I love the area is a bonus, as the course really chose me. It was the only interview I was offered, and I was sure I was going to take anything they could give me. For months I spent my free time applying to a whole range of courses all over the UK.
Don’t let it wear you down when you don’t hear back or if you get turned down, competition is fierce and with every rejection you get more time to learn independently, volunteer and make yourself more appealing ready for the next round of applications. The interviews tend to be fun too – full of activities and quizzes and conversations with fascinating like-minded people.
Because UHP wardens work solo, I am often working one-on-one with any of the 6 wardens. This means I get to listen and learn about the different approaches that the wardens take and, because they are all enthusiastic about their work, I can ask hundreds of questions and get in depth answers. My boss Jade has taught me how to read the land as a whole which has been inspiring, and how to work with the community and the partners to get things done.
My colleague Nina specialises in conservation grazing, so I’ve tracked cows and ponies on heathland sites; Stuart showed me wild lizards and snakes, then took me raft-spider hunting – and working out here has rescued me from a life-long fear of spiders.
My absolute favourite thing about the job is ‘winter works’; we pile tools, firelighters, waterproofs and protective kit into a Land Rover and spend all day getting stuck in on manual heathland conservation, like chopping down pines or hacking-up gorse. I’ve experienced bonfires of all shapes, sizes and ferocities and in all weathers. It’s wicked!
The college is well kitted out with lots of tools and brushcutters, which is really important. We had two days of assessed hedgelaying in which we had to demonstrate the appropriate use of lots of different tools. There were plenty to go round, and in good shape for college kit.
If there are no full time positions with UHP when I finish my apprenticeship in September, land-work in rural Scotland would be a dream-come true, looking particularly at the botanical side of things.
In my heart of hearts I want to stay with UHP – I’ve found a new home in nearby Wimborne, am really really lucky in that my colleagues are such lovely people, and through my work I’ve developed a real passion for heathland sites – they are a dramatic panorama in every season, extremely precious, and need lots of work and attention which certainly keeps me busy.
Without UHP taking a chance on me, I would have never stopped trying to get into this career, but would likely not have got very far. I now have a head full of new knowledge and skills; I am physically stronger, and motivated to keep going!
Twenty year old Tom, from Dorchester, says the Level 3 Diploma in Public Services at Kingston Maurward College has given him the perfect qualification for his future career – especially the fitness training and current affairs lessons.
He said: “The facilities were excellent – the lake, gym, sports barn and High & low ropes – essential for the high level of fitness the course demands. Each day students completed two hours’ fitness training first thing in the morning – and if we were ahead of lesson schedule we could do extra.”
This attention to health and fitness are necessary to prepare students for military selection processes – of which the Royal Marines’ is widely regarded as one of the toughest.
Tom is confident in his ability during the three days’ selection process at the Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC) in Lympstone, Devon. The tests include an assault course, obstacle course, endurance course, running, drill and interviews.
Tom credits his tutors for their commitment and support during the course. He said: “My tutor gave me really good advice and help in my work. He made effort for each and every person and pushed us to our best.”
Prior to applying for a Business Administration Apprenticeship with Dorset Police I completed my NVQ Level 2 Certificate in Business Administration at Kingston Maurward College. I learnt a variety of valuable skills ranging from daily tasks completed in administration, to the preparation of an interview.
I then decided to do an apprenticeship which has given me the opportunity to work for an employer, earn a salary and gain a qualification while gaining valuable workplace experience and skills. I have already been able to develop a lot of my skills since I started my apprenticeship in September.
Apprenticeships give you a chance to take a leap into the real world. I am dealing with the public on a daily basis, answering and returning calls and emails. Apprenticeships are all about learning the key skills that are required and how to develop them and apply them to your job
I enjoy being able to work with professional and qualified people within my office. I have been given the opportunity to shadow a Personal Assistant to experience a different world of administration.
I have also been able to attend the Police and Crime Commissioners Community Engagement Forums which are held across Dorset. When I first started my apprenticeship I was helping with the setting up of these forums. Once I had shown what I was capable of, I was given the responsibility of the Twitter and Facebook accounts. Now I still assist with the set-ups and I Tweet live from these events. When at these public forums you have to interact and communicate accordingly, and I have been able to widen this skill to the best of my ability.
With many apprenticeships you will undertake 30 hours of work at your work placement, and then an additional 7 hours at college (4 days at your work placement & 1 day at college), this can vary, and with my apprenticeship I attend college once every fortnight.
In college you learn about the mandatory topics that need to be covered during the apprenticeship. In Business Administration these topics include the Data Protection Act, how to monitor activity and the importance of a management information system.
At work I am covering a variety of tasks from general administrational duties to interacting with the public. My employer has given me many opportunities and training to help strengthen my skills and experience.
When I have completed my apprenticeship I would like to either stay with Dorset Police or to take my skills and experience to another job.
Since I started my apprenticeship with Dorset Police I have learned a number of skills that I will be able to progress further until I finish my NVQ Level 3 Business Administration. These skills can be learned through training or from working with another colleague.
Full-time education is not for everyone, and having an apprenticeship has allowed me to get out and experience working in a business environment and how to present and act professionally on a daily basis.
I feel that doing my apprenticeship has helped me develop, I have become more confident and capable because of the experience and skills that I have acquired since I started.
After completing his Level 2 and Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Animal Conservation Simon Banks was delighted to be taken on in the coveted position of Advanced Animal Care Apprentice at Kingston Maurward College.
Nineteen year old Simon credits his learning experience to his teachers and the facilities at the College – the wide range of animals and endless learning opportunities, having access to the farm, Animal Park and animal care centre, interaction with lots of different animals, and gaining new skills.
He works both alone and with a team of technicians to deliver excellent welfare to all of the animals, and also supervises Level 2 and 3 student groups for work experience.
During his apprenticeship Simon, from Blandford, has so far completed first aid training and embarked on a PTLLS qualification (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector), to enable him to teach. He intends to gain as many extra qualifications and experiences as possible to increase his future employability.
When he finishes his apprenticeship Simon hopes to be employed by the college full time as an Animal Care Technician/Instructor as he has settled in as a member of staff, and is already familiar with all of the animals and the routine jobs.
Simon Said: “I think for anyone currently doing or wanting to do an apprenticeship, if you are passionate about your job you must show that you have a strong willingness to learn and expand your knowledge. I went by the phrase ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ so if there is a certain qualification or training that you believe would help increase your employability then don’t hesitate to ask your manager – the worst they can say is no and at least then you have shown that you are willing to progress and keen to learn.
“I think this course has helped me greatly in my career – I am constantly learning new skills and expanding my knowledge of the animals daily. My confidence whilst supervising groups of students is growing day by day, I am always improving my teaching skills whilst working with and observing other professionals. This course has given me an incredible amount of knowledge and experience that I can take everywhere with me when I finish.”
Having always dreamed of working with horses, eighteen year old Scott Etches decided the Kingston Maurward College Apprenticeship in Work-based Horse Care would lead him to his perfect career in the equine industry.
Scott said: “My apprenticeship has helped me enormously in getting a foothold within the industry, working while learning at the same time. Also by studying the course alongside working, it kept it interesting and fresh, and has given me opportunities to meet new people and work with others as part of a team.
“It has also given me the chance to ride a variety of different horses, go on work experience to lots of different yards to see how they run things, and be a part of various awards which I am very proud to have won. I definitely have the commitment to succeed.”
After completing his Level 2 Apprenticeship, Scott from Bournemouth, is now studying towards the Level 3 apprenticeship.
In February 2014 in recognition of his commitment and talent, his employer, Ten Acre Livery in Poole, entered him into the highly regarded Dorset Chamber of Commerce Warde Award for outstanding Apprentices. Competing against 30 apprentices and in front of a panel of four judges, Scott won first prize.
Scott’s Manager, Sophie Kleinschmidt, said: “Over the past year Scott has shown exceptional aptitude and a wonderful attitude with regard to his work, studies and professional development.
“His determination and endeavor has paid off as his standard of riding has improved beyond measure; his talent and feel have helped him to grow as a rider both on the flat and over fences but it is his hard graft that has made the most difference.
“Scott has taken every opportunity laid before him; competing on days off and ensuring that he takes advantage of any learning opportunities that may arise; his enthusiasm is infectious and sets a fantastic example to the other, less experienced apprentices.
“Scott’s work ethic is second to none and his dedication and diligence have been noticed and commented on by both those involved in his training and the clients at Ten Acre Livery. Scott has been successful in his BHS exams and in the world of competition, taking his own horse to their first BE event. He has also ridden client’s horses in a variety of competitions and acted with calm, competent professionalism whatever the outcome. However, even with a good deal of success Scott has remained grounded and shows no sign of the arrogance that can come in youth. He is a kind, thoughtful young man who I am proud to have trained.”
Having always wanted a worthy and rewarding career working in the animal industry, former Kingston Maurward College Level 3 Animal Conservation & Welfare student, Max Welch, has made some shrewd education decisions culminating in him now studying towards his six year qualification in Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University.
After successfully completing his A levels, twenty year old Max embarked on the Level 3 Animal Management Diploma at Kingston Maurward during his gap year prior to applying to University.
As an aspiring Veterinary Surgeon, he says that what attracted him to KMC’s diploma course was the wide range of highly relevant topics it covered. He wanted a good grounding in all aspects of animal management and science to stand him in good stead for his future veterinary career.
Although Max had attained the necessary A Levels for progression to study veterinary medicine at university, he states categorically that he could not have made it into university without additionally doing the Diploma at Kingston Maurward.
He believes that not only did it show a readiness and willingness to continue in education, but it also demonstrated that he had a high level of commitment.
Max said: “The knowledge I gained from studying at the College will serve me well in the future as it gave me experience others may not have had, enabling me to achieve to the best of my ability. Also, the structure of the course meant that I still had time to carry out work experience and paid employment. In this way, the course enabled me to gain more experience in a relevant industry for my future, whilst also allowing me to build up savings for university.”
In addition, the Diploma delivered six dedicated hours every week to practical work with animals which Max says improved his confidence and skills in handling a broad range of animals, from livestock to reptiles and everything in between.
He said: “Kingston Maurward’s facilities are second to none in the area. Nowhere else could you go from milking the dairy herd one minute, to handling exotic species the next, and then on to the alpacas and larger animals at the Animal Park.
“The College resources ensure you get a great chance to experience every type of animal you can reasonably expect to come into contact with. Furthermore, the campus and library provide a great environment and resources to aid your studies and social life.”
He praised the College’s system of having specialised tutors teaching specific subject areas, ensuring that students get the best standards of teaching.
He said: “By providing lecturers specialising in their topics, you in turn get the most relevant and up to date information which is presented with such passion and devotion that it almost becomes infectious.”
Max cites his favourite modules of the Diploma as being ‘Health’ and ‘Breed Development’ as they gave him insight into subject matters that he would otherwise have had no access to. The Health module provided a good base for animal first aid and diseases, whilst Breed Development demonstrated how domestication has played a role in the lives of animals – a subject often prompting valuable and thought-provoking ethical debates among the class.
He said: “The practical work and extracurricular activities from milking the dairy herd to ferret racing at River Cottage, have been not only of great use, but an amazing experience and great fun. Not to mention making great friends who make the College what it is.”
Green fingered Matthew Weldon from Weymouth knew that embarking on a Horticulture Apprenticeship at Kingston Maurward College would be the beginning of a budding career.
After a year at sixth form he decided it wasn’t the path he wanted to take, realising that instead he wanted a career outside and involving a lot of practical work. Having always grown plants and vegetables at home Matthew decided Horticulture was the direction to follow.
When he heard that Kingston Maurward was looking for a Horticulture Apprentice he jumped at the chance.
He completed the Level 2 Apprenticeship and has now progressed on to the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship. He fully intends to continue working at the College and in future perhaps manage his own horticultural business.
Twenty year old Matthew said: “My tutors have a really good depth of knowledge that is both subject related and work related coming from their own experiences.
“This course is giving me a more in-depth look at horticulture, developing my knowledge of the industry, and making me more prepared for the future.”
Matthew’s manager, and Head Gardener at Kingston Maurward, Nigel Hewish, said: “Throughout Matthew’s training he has continued to gain knowledge together with a wide range of horticultural skills. He is now able to put this into practice alongside developing his supervisory skills. He is a very effective team member”.
Matthew, from Henstridge, chose the Level 3 Countryside Management course at Kingston Maurward due to the appeal of gaining more outdoor experiences, going on field trips in the British landscape, learning about the countryside and wildlife, plus, he says, the City & Guilds is a recognised qualification well known in the UK and Scotland.
Having visited when he was twelve, Matthew’s ultimate dream is to work in the Scottish Highlands – the rugged beauty drawing him towards a career in forestry, gamekeeping, water management or as a ranger – he says there are a surprising amount of jobs available.
Matthew credits his tutors’ industry experience and knowledge with being crucial to the course, and says the number of machinery certificates he and the other students attained as part of the course are invaluable for his future career: chainsaw, tractor driving, brush cutters and quad bikes.
Matthew said: “The course provides students with good experience and a huge amount of information and knowledge. It’s good to learn from tutors who have first-hand knowledge. I’m confident it will help me get the job I want.”
Having already enjoyed working as a customer assistant for three years she felt she wanted to study towards something more, and found that by following a Kingston Maurward Retail apprenticeship course would enable her to gain a qualification, learn valuable hands on skills and experience, whilst getting paid.
Hannah’s work-based apprenticeship means that she works full-time at the Lighthouse Cookshop in Ringwood, is visited in the workplace by an assessor, and completes her assignments at home.
Hannah said: “I’m currently working as a customer assistant which I really love. I would like to carry on working my way up the corporate ladder, hopefully one day to a management position.
“My apprenticeship is giving me a really good strong foundation to build an amazing career on. Not just now in my current placement, but also for future jobs.”
Having always had great interest in computers Glen wanted a career as a computer systems engineer or in programming.
Having now completed his BTEC Glen’s next step is to go to university – and has taken the exciting step of applying to one in Calgary, Canada studying a bachelor degree in computer systems.
Glen’s BTEC covered graphic design, web design, coding, programming, computer systems and organisational systems security.
All the teachers are really friendly and everybody’s really easy to get along with – Kingston Maurward is a great environment to learn in.
Glen, 18, said: “If you’re not sure exactly what you want to do in IT this is a great course that gives you a variety of options.
“All the teachers are really friendly and everybody’s really easy to get along with – Kingston Maurward is a great environment to learn in.”
Having always wanted to work with animals, but instead getting stuck in a series of mundane jobs, Emma Melling dipped her toe in the water by doing a part-time Canine Psychology course at Kingston Maurward College in February 2011.
This released a torrent of desire for the subject area, and convinced her to take the plunge fully and apply for the full-time Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management.
As a mature student Emma thought long and hard about giving up work to undertake a full time course, but the gamble paid off and she says she should have studied at Kingston Maurward College years ago!
Ages in her groups range from 17-42 and the dynamics are great, she says. Whether students have just left school, or like her, haven’t been taught for twenty years, the tutors support everyone equally.
Emma is so confident her in her career change that she has undertaken an exciting work experience position in a primate rescue centre – Jungle Friends – in Florida, USA.
The sanctuary is a non-profit organisation, situated 12 acres rescues and offers a permanent, safe haven for monkeys from around the United States who have been abused, confiscated by authorities, retired from research, or who are ex-pets.
During the two month self-funded trip Emma will live on-site and work towards the much needed two years’ work experience she needs in order to be considered for her dream job at Monkey World in Wareham, Dorset. Next year she will go to South Africa for a six month placement at another primate centre.
She said: “My course has given me the opportunity to turn my career around. It has opened up networking opportunities, and without it I wouldn’t have met my tutor, and found out about the primate centre opportunity in Florida. Being at college has proved to me that it’s never too late to learn – I love it!”
Kingston Maurward College Business Administration Apprentice Emma Garland is pursuing a promising career with the NHS on her Level 3 Apprenticeship in Business Administration.
After a year of A levels Emma, from Weymouth, changed direction opting instead for an apprenticeship in an office environment at Dorset County Hospital, getting work experience and gaining qualifications at the same time.
She says it is very rewarding working for the NHS and the work is interesting and varied, liaising with patients, GPs, consultants and gastroenterologists.
Nineteen year old Emma said: “I think that if you know what you want to do an apprenticeship is the best way to do it – I’m really glad I decided to do mine.
“When I finish my apprenticeship I definitely want to stay with the NHS there’s always something going on – I’d like to become a qualified medical secretary.”
When she finished her A levels Ellen was unsure of what to do next to pursue an agricultural career and Kingston Maurward was recommended to her.
For the first year of her course, Ellen, from Sidmouth in Devon, lived in student accommodation on campus, which she says boosted her confidence in a safe environment and she made lots of friends.
Working with the sheep and dairy gave her experience of the work ethic needed to be successful in the industry, and the teachers were very supportive and helpful.
Ellen’s qualifications have enabled her to embark on an agricultural degree this September, and being most keen on livestock and crop production at college she intends to pursue a career as an agronomist, agricultural consultant or with the NFU.
She said: “My time at College has been invaluable – I can’t wait to start my degree!”
Successfully completing her Level 2 Apprenticeship in Customer Service has enabled nineteen year old Danielle Moors from Puddletown to find her dream job as Weddings and Social Events Assistant at Kingston Maurward.
Having always wanted a career in hospitality and having no interest in going to university, Danielle decided an apprenticeship was the best route for her, specialising in weddings and events.
She said: “Before I did my apprenticeship, I didn’t have any relevant qualifications, and now I’ve been working I gained lots of experience – much more than if I had gone to university, plus I got paid!
“I like meeting people, being involved with planning the weddings and seeing it all come together – it’s a great job – I love it.”
Danielle won this year’s Apprentice of the Year Award at the College and also received the Intermediate Retail & Customer Service Award sponsored by Medisave.
Manager Darlene Reid said: “I am delighted and extremely proud of Danielle and the hospitality team who have worked with her over the last year.
“We have seen her grow in confidence and develop in her role. The apprenticeship has been mutually beneficial both for Danielle and the whole department. “
Eighteen year old Charity Tabor is determined to be a fully qualified farmer of the future on the family farm by completing Apprenticeships in Agriculture.
Having studied AS levels for one year, she decided not to study for a second year as it wouldn’t lead her to where she wanted to be: a progressive, attentive and forward-looking farmer. She realised she wanted a course where she could work as well as learn.
Charity said: “I have enjoyed the entire course – the theory sessions support the practical skills that I learn whilst working, as well as new subjects, for instance machinery and more arable agriculture.
“I have been amazed at the diversity of subjects and skills that are covered. It is also good to meet with other students, and hear what they do on other farms.
“All of the teachers and their teaching has been superb. I think because I am so interested in the subjects taught, everything is relevant, making learning so enjoyable.
“I am currently about to lamb the flock, consisting of 500 Texel x Mules. There are however, 5 of my own pedigree Texel sheep within this flock, so I am extremely excited!”
She credits the Tractor Safety and Handling course for making her much more safety aware, and will be completing the Telehandler course in March. These certificates not only support her personal skills but also make her more employable for the future.
Charity believes the course has helped enormously in her career and hopes to progress on to the Level 3 Apprenticeship in September.
Business minded Amy Pye wanted to further her qualifications whilst gaining valuable work experience at Poundbury’s Gallery on the Square, so studying the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship NVQ in Customer Service at Kingston Maurward College was the perfect solution for her.
Amy, from Dorchester, was encouraged to do the apprenticeship by her employers, David and Stephanie Murdock, with a view that she could pass on her knowledge and skills to the rest of the team.
Her responsibilities included managing the café and gift shop and deputising for the directors and the team of 13 staff.
Amy says her apprenticeship has given her essential firsthand experience in employment, rather than choosing the university route.
Gallery on the Square owner Stephanie Murdock said: “Amy was the first person to be recruited and showed astonishing ability and potential as a manager. The apprenticeship has really developed those skills and will be the foundation for a truly successful career in the future. Apprenticeships have great benefits for both employers and employees, and we hope to support another apprentice this year.”
Since finishing her apprenticeship Amy has moved to Exeter to pursue her management career as an Assistant Restaurant Manager – managing a team of 32 staff in a very busy restaurant.
Amy said: “My apprenticeship helped me enormously to get where I am now, in the restaurant my main focus is the customer service. I have been allocated this area because of my qualification – it shows that I am aware of the importance of customer service in such a competitive industry – the course has taught me everything I need to know to enforce excellent customer service.
“In the future I hope to progress within the company to Restaurant Manager level and eventually run my own restaurant. The apprenticeship has given me the vital knowledge to be able to do this. It means I can be taken seriously when it comes to discussing customer service, legislation and customer feedback.”