Two young women from County Durham whose training helped them launch their own careers are supporting a national campaign this week promoting apprenticeships.

Chelsea Wainwright, 19, and Lauren Kitching, 20, were both taken on by their employers after completing their apprenticeships and are now enjoying the benefits of full time work.

Chelsea, of Coxhoe, joined Persimmon Homes in 2016 and after completing her Level 3 Apprenticeship in Business Administration she has been promoted to Assistant Buyer at the firm’s Bowburn offices.

She is now combining a Level 4 Advanced Apprenticeship with her new role, which sees her purchasing materials for building sites, liaising with suppliers and negotiating prices.

Chelsea, pictured, said: “The apprenticeship has benefited my personal life in many ways; I have gained a full time role within the company and have since been promoted to Assistant Buyer. This has enabled me to buy a new car and also get onto the property ladder, with the purchase of my first home in October.

“The course has built my confidence because of the knowledge I have gained through studying the qualification. I wouldn’t be at such an advanced stage in my career without the help of the college and the course I have studied. I would definitely recommend this apprenticeship to other young people as it has certainly kick started my adult life in the most positive of ways.”

Lauren, of Bishop Auckland, secured her job as a Learning Support Assistant at the town’s Bishop Barrington School last September after completing her Level 3 Apprenticeship in Supporting Teaching and Learning.She first had to pass a work trial and interview, after applying for the vacancy via the National Apprenticeship Service website. For Lauren, it meant a return to the school she had attended as a pupil to work in its learning support unit alongside four colleagues.

She said: “I work with children who have behavioural difficulties or special educational needs, or problems with anxiety and requiring emotional support - both on a one-to-one basis and also sometimes as a group.

“Sometimes it can be tough, working with children with more challenging needs, but it is also very rewarding. I’m loving my job, really enjoying it.

“During my apprenticeship I feel I gained key industry knowledge, learning first hand from teaching professionals, and the confidence to do the job. It’s also a great way to earn money while you are learning.”

Bishop Auckland College supported both Chelsea and Lauren through their training and is currently advertising vacancies for apprenticeships in painting and decorating, business administration, beauty therapy, motor vehicle and PE in schools.

As part of its support for the 12th National Apprenticeships Week, the college is offering schools in south Durham the opportunity to visit its engineering training facility South West Durham Training and has arranged with employer partner 3M the chance for schools to go on a tour of its manufacturing plant in Newton Aycliffe.

Schools can also arrange for one-to-one or group talks on apprenticeships with the college’s apprenticeship team.

Natalie Davison-Terranova, Principal and Chief Executive, said: “Chelsea and Lauren are just two of the many apprenticeship success stories we see at Bishop Auckland College every year. I am delighted to hear how well they are doing in their chosen careers, having benefited personally from their own apprenticeships.

“The college works with employers across south Durham and the Tees Valley to meet their training needs, offering a wide range of apprenticeships at Level 2, 3 and 4 across many industry sectors. I would urge anyone wanting to know more about local apprenticeship opportunities to contact us.”

The college is holding open evenings from 5pm to 7pm on Monday March 25th at South West Durham Training in Newton Aycliffe, and from 5.30pm to 7.30pm on Tuesday March 26th at its main Bishop Auckland campus, where advice will be offered on all courses and training including apprenticeships. See bacoll.ac.uk for details.

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