Apprenticeships - a good way to break into a career

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As the government increases its budget for apprenticeships their take-up is rising year-on-year.

And with 50,000 started in the East Midlands alone last year there has never been a better time to throw your hat in the ring.

So, as part of its weekly feature on the Getting Ashfield and Mansfield Working Campaign Chad takes a closer look at the process.

Dean Walker (21), of Langwith Junction, is a Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering apprentice at Sutton firm Abacus Lighting - an international lighting specialist.

He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed this apprenticeship and the hands-on approach really suits my learning style. This experience has improved my life for the better by giving me a much clearer career direction and valuable skills that I will be able to use throughout my career.”

Dean had just finished his first year studying towards his A Levels at sixth form.

After a series of tests and a final interview the apprenticeship began with a work experience programme that sampled the different areas of the business.

He received professional training and went on day release to Chesterfield College to complete a BTEC National Certificate, then a BTEC Higher National Certificate and he is currently working towards a Foundation Degree.

Dean is now in his final role as a buyer.

Steven Forster, of Abacus Lighting, who also started out as an apprentice, said: “Apprenticeships have become a vital component of our organisation

and over the years we have developed a structured apprenticeship scheme that suits our needs and provides a great opportunity for young people.

“Through our apprenticeships we aim to bring in young and talented individuals, invest in their ability and develop them within the business.”

The Getting Ashfield and Mansfield Working campaign was put together by Mansfield Area Strategic Partnership (MASP) to raise awareness of the support available for jobseekers in Ashfield and Mansfield.

Each week Chad has featured advice from partner members on everything from graduate employment to work experience and presentation skills.

West Notts College provide a number of apprenticeships. To find out more visit, or you can search for vacancies at