When Alisa Turcanu arrived in Northampton from Moldova two years ago, the thought of studying at University would have been a distant dream.
The language barrier and an unfamiliar education system meant she faced an uphill battle but it is a battle she has overcome, thanks to a combination of hard work and expert teaching at Northampton College.
She has achieved a grade B in her GCSE Maths and a C in English, alongside a Level 3 BTEC in Business, to allow her to continue her studies with a degree in International Business at university.
Alisa said: “The teachers have been fantastic. I have got on really well with them; they were good fun, approachable and made learning enjoyable. They explained things really well and that meant I was able to understand everything and get the grades I needed.
“Coming over to England was very strange at first but I quickly made lots of friends and that was a real help. I had people around me showing me how things worked in England and I really appreciated that.
“I have constantly been studying since I arrived so it is nice that the hard work is paying off and now I can look forward to university.”
Millie Rolfe studies Level 3 childcare and currently has a placement at NicBec Day Nursery, working towards her ambition of one day managing her own nursery.
Working as a baby room leader, Millie enjoys taking the children on trips to the seaside or the zoo.
She said: “I have always liked to play with my younger siblings and get a bit messy, so playing with the children at the Nursery and getting messy with paints is a dream job for me.
“Working with children is so energetic and I have found that this style of learning suits me much more than classroom work. I have also found that it has helped me to build more independence as you are earning money, getting hands on experience and a qualification all in one.
“Studying the Childcare course at Northampton College has given me greater understanding of child development and how to get the best from each individual child. I now know how to recognise the different milestones in a child’s progression and how to encourage them to progress even further.
“I have received a brilliant service from Northampton College and I plan to go on to university to complete a course in early childcare studies. This Apprenticeship has helped me to clarify that pursuing a career in the child care profession is 100 per cent what I want to do.”
John Cooknell’s journey from studying for his GCSEs to helping maintain a fleet of 84 trains has been as rapid as it has been rewarding, and it’s all thanks to his apprenticeship with Siemens through Northampton College.
He said: “I found the Siemens vacancy on an Apprenticeship Website. I knew I wanted to pursue my passion and enthusiasm for Maths and science and engineering seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that.
“I’m an apprentice technician, which means that I am responsible for maintaining a fleet of 84 trains alongside my colleagues, providing good reliability and fixing any faults that are present. I really like the fact that I get to see behind the scenes and gain experience in part of the rail industry that most people don’t get to see.
“I want to progress to a higher level in the rail industry and gain as much experience as possible so that I can progress through the company to a more supervisory role. There will always be opportunities for work in this industry and the skills I have learnt from this apprenticeship will be transferable to many different industries if I decide to change my role in the future.
“I have received a very high quality of training from Northampton College and I can’t think of anything better than being paid to get hands on experience in an industry that gets behind you and pushes you to be the best you can be.”
Megan is currently completing an Apprenticeship as a Finishing Technician at Sandwell, a specialised surface engineering company based in Towcester.
She said: “My apprenticeship has been really rewarding and I feel so much more motivated to learn than I did at school. It’s great to earn a qualification and progress in a career you love, especially when it helps you to become financially independent and confident in your own skills.
“When I started my Apprenticeship at Sandwell I found that it was better for me to learn from experience rather than being shown on paper. This hands-on approach has enabled me to learn about the practical elements of my role as well as improving my ability to apply this knowledge to my studies. My college tutor is very approachable and understanding. He has supported me throughout my Apprenticeship and I know that I can go to him with any questions.
“I feel extremely lucky to work within a team that is so welcoming and friendly. There are a number of talented female engineers who encourage me and help to create a great working environment. Some of my friends were sceptical about my decision to complete an Apprenticeship, but I decided to throw myself in at the deep end. I am so glad that I did because now they realise that it was the right choice for me because I am doing something I love.
“I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of my job and once I have progressed enough in my current role, my dream is to join the RAF and work in aerodynamics.”
The boot and show trade is the heart and ‘sole’ of Northampton life and Courtney Wells’ apprenticeship in Performing Manufacturing Operations has seen her develop a love for the town’s proud shoemaking heritage.
She said: “I chose an apprenticeship because it’s a pathway that will lead to a career, not just a job.
“I have learnt so much in my time here, not just about the work but also about the history of Northampton and why learning traditional trades is so important. An apprenticeship is the best way to unlock hidden skills and bring yourself out of your shell.
“I get to work in all of the departments throughout the factory, which means that I learn all of the best bits about the job and get to meet lots of nice people along the way.
“I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way. Northampton College has provided me with outstanding support during my apprenticeship and I hope to stay on at Church’s and become a room manager one day.”