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Tia Whelan’s success demonstrates value of Leicester College apprenticeship courses

Taking place this week (3-9 Feb) #NationalApprenticeshipWeek #NAW2020is an annual celebration of apprenticeships that brings the whole @apprenticeship community together to celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy.

Leicester College student, Tia Whelan is demonstrating the importance of apprenticeship courses to the future careers of young students.

The College is the largest apprenticeship training delivery organisation in Leicester with over 1,500 students working with local businesses in apprentice roles. 20 year-old Tia completed a three-year plumbing course at Leicester College before starting her Property Maintenance Operative Apprenticeship at UKGas, a leading home service partner in the East Midlands, where she is the first female in the team.

She now takes on her own work experience students and has visited 10 schools and colleges over the last six months to speak to students about the construction industry and promote the programme to female students.

In November 2019, Tia won the Apprentice of the Year award at the national Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Student of the Year Awards. She was also one of two regional finalists in the National Apprenticeship Awards in the Intermediate Apprentice of the Year category.

Tia explains: “My Dad was a plumber and encouraged me to learn a trade. However, during the plumbing course at Leicester College, I realised that fitting was better for me.

“I’ve had the ultimate in support from Tina and the apprenticeships team at Leicester College, sorting this apprenticeship for me at UKGas and nominating me for awards.

“Without this apprenticeship with Leicester College and the opportunity to work for UKGas, I’d probably still be working in retail but that wasn’t the career for me.

“I enjoy my role at UKGas and I have learnt so much whilst completing this apprenticeship. I enjoy being an ambassador for the college, women in construction and promoting construction roles, too.

“The apprenticeship course has really helped to boost my confidence. I’m doing the thing I enjoy every day, learning different kinds of trades and earning at the same time.

“My advice to others who aren’t sure whether an apprenticeship is right for them is to just go for it – you have nothing to lose and you’re learning while working.

“I’m looking forward to the day when I’ve had enough on-the-job teaching to successfully work on properties on my own, with no supervision. Who knows, perhaps one day, I’ll teach someone else!”

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