From education to employment

Solent LEP marks #NationalApprenticeshipWeek by celebrating its own apprentices

L to R: Solent LEP Apprentices Josie Worsfold, Sophie Taylor, and Storm Wilson

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is marking National Apprenticeship Week 2020 by sharing its own apprentices’ experiences to make others aware of this career path. 

Now entering its sixth year of employing apprentices in Business Administration, this year the  LEP made the decision to broaden its apprentice offering, and is employing a Level 4 Marketing Executive Apprentice.


Nicola Twiddy, Office Manager and PA at Solent LEP, who works with the trainees said: “Having an apprenticeship scheme at the Solent LEP has been a great support to the whole team and all of the apprentices who have been with us over the years have given a fresh perspective on how we do things and have positively increased the whole team’s capacity.  During the course of our apprenticeship programme, it has been wonderful to see the apprentices grow in confidence, knowledge and skills. It means a great deal to me and the wider team to know that we are helping set them up on their future career paths.”


Current business administration trainees Storm Wilson, 21, and Josie Worsfold, 23, spend five days a week at Solent LEP and have a training day  every other month or so, fitting in their apprenticeship work around their full time employment. They have both recently registered to be part of the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network (YAAN) a community of inspiring, driven apprentices and former apprentices in their local area. 


Storm, who grew up in Portsmouth, and who is four months into a 15 month apprenticeship said: “I previously wanted to be a lawyer and studied Law, Psychology and English Literature at college. However I decided it wasn’t for me and following a short period doing a Hospitality and Catering apprenticeship, I have settled with the Business Administration apprenticeship which will open many windows of opportunity and the chance of a long-term career.”


Storm is a personal assistant for the heads of service, administrating meetings and events and helping out with governance, careers funds, and many other areas. 


“At the moment I am helping  the Royal Navy with Maritime events which is really interesting.  Ideally in five years’ time I would like to have finished my level 6 and be settled in a permanent business administration/personal assistant role.”


Josie, also from Portsmouth, who is six months into an 18 month contract said: “An apprenticeship really gives you the best insight into the workplace, you’re gaining skills and work experience as well as a recognised qualification.  I get all the benefits of full time work, a salary, annual leave, and the benefits from learning and being a student such as student discounts, gaining a qualification and enhancing my knowledge and skill set.  


“I have studied in college and had other full time jobs but I always knew I wanted to progress and learn, but it was difficult to earn good money and learn at the same time.  I find it suits me because I have bills to pay but I will always want to give myself the best opportunities for the future in a career I enjoy.”


Sophie Taylor, 23, from Fareham, is the  LEP’s first apprentice in its marketing team and commences a two year apprenticeship this month.  Sophie joined the LEP from Hampshire Chamber of Commerce where she completed a Level 2 and 3 in Business Administration, where she discovered a passion for marketing.


“I joined the LEP in a business support role for the Growth Hub and when the marketing apprenticeship was advertised, I was excited at the opportunity to apply for a role that I could progress from Level 3 and into a subject I love with an organisation I know and enjoy working for.  I much prefer the process of working and studying at the same time as it means anything I learn through my apprenticeship modules, I am able to put into practice straight away in a real life environment. Everyone is so encouraging here and really want you to do well. I love that I feel I’m contributing to the work the LEP does for the region’s economy. 


“I think apprenticeships still have some stigma attached to them and at school we simply weren’t given enough information about the paths we could take.  Apprenticeships weren’t really on the agenda except for more practical courses like hairdressing. I didn’t want to choose a university path and an apprenticeship is by far the best thing I’ve done.  I’m set up for life and am excited to have the opportunity to upskill even further, but in my chosen field of marketing.”

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