As thousands of teenagers get their GCSE results today and start the massive challenge of finding an apprenticeship, a job with training or move onto college.
Portakabin apprentice, Sam Richardson, 17, knows exactly how everyone feels. He did his GCSE's last year and is already one year into a mechanical engineering apprenticeship and training with DTA. Here is his experience as told to the Daily Mirror for an article on results day:
What are you doing?
I'm rotating round the production departments, learning all there is to know about the mechanical side of constructing our portable buildings. I've worked in maintenance and product engineering so far. I love solving problems and fixing things, so I'm in the right place. It took me a few days to adjust to not being at school - like not having to ask to go to the toilet and now having anyone standing over my shoulder.
How come you didn't stay on at school?
The A-Levels I wanted to do were not offered at my school. There was one teacher who was supportive and helped me to find out more about apprenticeships. I realised an apprenticeship was right for me. I'm learning what I need to know every single hour of every day.
How did you find the job?
I looked on gov.org and applied to Derwent Training Association which links to employers near me in York, such as Portakabin. I started the interview process last June after I'd finished my exams. I've worked in my Dad's pub at weekends since I was 14 so I am used to talking to strangers. I found it really helped my confidence when I was being put through all the assessment tests. Even so, I heard nothing and it wasn't until the end of August, after results day, that I got a call whilst I was at Leeds Festival. It was a surreal moment but I was so happy knowing I had made it. I started a week later.
How different have things been for your old school friends?
Most of them stayed on for Sixth Form and I still see them. I don't like it when they're on half term or different holidays and I have to work. They finish at 3.30pm every day too. But my world is completely different. I am treated like an adult and was from my very first day at work. I've been saving up for a deposit to buy my own flat too, which is a great feeling. I've done so many great things as well, like the Brathay Apprentice Challenge where we competed against apprentices from all over the country, organising community events and promoting apprenticeships. We made it to the final eight.
How did you do in your GCSE's?
I still didn't know I had the apprenticeship on results day so I was really, really nervous. I passed all 10 though, with As to Cs.
What are your top tips for anyone looking for an Apprenticeship?
Explore all your options: college, sixth form, apprenticeships. Have a part time job to build your confidence and show your interviewer you want the job. Once you start work get your head down and do they job as well as you can.
Derwent Training Association still have apprenticeship opportunities available; please call 01653 697698 to discuss these with one of our Recruitment Team.