From education to employment

My Saturday job turned into an award-winning apprenticeship

To mark #NationalApprenticeshipWeek Jasmine, from Stoke-on-Trent, is sharing her story in the hope that it will encourage others to consider an #apprenticeship too

When 15-year-old Jasmine Lowe got a weekend job as a waitress, she had no idea that three years later she would be an award-winning apprentice in a blossoming career.

Jasmine had always dreamed of running her own shop and was delighted when she got a weekend job at Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Café, near Uttoxeter. Not only did it give her some income of her own, it was an opportunity to gain experience in hospitality and retail.

Jasmine impressed her employers with her motivation and commitment and quickly became an integral part of the team, so in September 2018 they partnered with Stoke on Trent College to offer her an apprenticeship. Since then, she’s been gaining new skills and recognised qualifications while getting valuable on the job experience. She is also learning about other areas of the business, including marketing, finance and operations.

Jasmine, now 19, says: “I knew that university wasn’t for me but I still wanted to learn. An apprenticeship is a great way to do this because you can earn money, enrich your learning and gain new skills all at the same time. I’ve gained hands on experience and been able grow within the business, taking on more responsibility and proving myself in other areas of the company. It has been the ideal opportunity to learn the skills I need for the future.”

Last year Jasmine was named Apprentice of the Year by Stoke on Trent College. She was awarded for going above and beyond in her role, excelling in her training and assessment and completing all her work to an extremely high standard.

Jasmine says: “University isn’t the right path for everyone and I would definitely encourage people to consider an apprenticeship. It gives you the chance to find your own path and really express yourself in what you want to do, and it can open doors in the future.”

Rupert Evans, who runs Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Café with his wife Emma, says apprenticeships offer many benefits to employers. They have taken on apprentices in different areas of the business, such as the butchery, kitchen, shop and front of house.

He says: “We like growing and nurturing our own talent from within and we’ve found that an apprenticeship can work really well. It feels personalised to our business because we can shape and mould someone to our ways of working but at the same time our apprentices learn general skills which will help them in their career, wherever it takes them.”

Rupert adds: “Jasmine is a true example of an apprenticeship success story. She has gone above and beyond in her role, taking on a wide range of responsibilities, from office-based tasks and marketing, to individual projects in the café which have a real impact.”

National Apprentices Week, which runs from 3 to 7 February 2020, is an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships across England. Now in its 13th year, the event aims to recognise and applaud apprentice success stories across the country. Stoke on Trent College currently has links to around 600 employers, with over 1,000 apprentices in more than 45 different areas.

Denise Brown, Principal and Chief Executive at Stoke on Trent College, comments:

“Apprenticeships are extremely versatile and work well across all industries. They provide an opportunity to earn while you learn, gain job-specific skills, receive valuable training and get ongoing, personalised support – all of which can improve employability. But there are also a number of benefits for employers too. Apprenticeships can improve productivity, fill skills gaps, motivate staff and reduce recruitment and training costs.”

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