4 March 2014
Apprentices who have since gone on to succeed in their chosen career are usually the best placed to articulate the value of the apprenticeship path, whatever the industry.
In facilities management, with its many routes into the profession, the experience of those who have since gone on to assume senior positions is even more valuable.
Today, those completely new to the FM industry can choose to start with an apprenticeship at level 2 and progress to a foundation degree, while learners with some previous FM experience looking to progress into senior management could choose the apprenticeship route that combines the BIFM qualifications at levels 4 and 5. But this is a relatively new route into FM-related apprenticeships.
Every day this week we will speak to a senior facilities manager about their experiences.
See more here:
Name: Alex Akushie
Job title: FM co-ordinator, The Wellcome Trust
1. How did you become an apprentice?
After secondary school I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do, so in the process of discovering what path was best suited for me, I started college doing BTEC First Diploma in IT Practitioners (equivalent to four A C GCSEs), which I completed in year one. I then went on to a BTEC National Diploma, which is a two-year course. Proceeding with this was never a course I wanted to take, and in turn my heart wasn't in it. This led to me dropping out from college and started working in retail. Moving between bar and catering jobs led me to work at the BBC within an internal catering company. After working a year there I realised I wanted to improve and progress in life, and for me to achieve this I needed to find employment that suited my needs. This is when I discovered apprenticeships and what they had to offer. It was the perfect route for me to progress through the career ladder. After two years of countless group and individual interviews, I finally caught my break and found the Wellcome Trust. I was convinced I was in the right place and wanted to progress here. Nothing else mattered, and I even took a significant pay cut just to grab the rare opportunity. It has truly paid off.
2. What was your experience?
I believe I had a bit of an advantage with regard to my experience as an apprentice. I had previously worked for four years before starting this apprenticeship, so I already had the strict work ethic and self-motivation needed in any job role. Also, within my team of 10 colleagues, five of them started through an apprenticeship scheme so they were very keen to take me under their wing and mentor me through the apprenticeship.
3. What advantages has it given you?
Being an apprentice gives you a broad knowledge and understanding of practical and theoretical practices. It allows an individual with little or no experience to familiarise themselves with what it feels like to work for at least 30 hours a week and also gives the apprentice an adequate qualification once it is completed. I've completed my level 3 apprenticeship, but it has been advised by my employer to pursue a level 4 (which my employer has fully funded) as well as sending me on numerous training courses.
4. Will today's apprentices benefit from the same circumstances?
When I started out on my apprenticeship, it wasn't fully supported by local councils or the media and there weren't many options. Today, however, social media, local councils, flyers, billboards, television and even radio stations are all behind apprenticeships and fully supporting them. Apprenticeships can help many young people find a source of employment as well as giving them a vast library to different fields to pursue a qualification.