courtney wellsThe 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.”
ben knowlesEngineering apprentice Ben Knowles is enjoying getting ‘hand-on’ in his role at Thorn electrical – adding to his skills and learning more about the world of work.

Ben followed his brother into the apprenticeship route having seen the confidence it gave him and is now reaping similar rewards himself.

He said: “I always knew I was better at working with my hands and being up and about than sitting in a classroom so this apprenticeship is perfect for me. My boss is also very flexible as he understands my need to further myself at College alongside my apprenticeship.’

“I attend College for one day a week and this compliments the course well. I find that the practical elements of my apprenticeship come to me more easily and this in turn helps me to understand the theory behind what I do. I definitely value what they teach me at College more because I have already seen how it will be useful in my working life.

“I feel more responsible and independent in what I do, especially now that I have advanced enough to complete certain jobs on my own. I believe that when you are trusted to do a good job and use your own initiative you can get a lot more out of it. I am motivated and take pride in my work which means that not only do I enjoy it but Northampton College has helped me to develop my skills in this trade and I now have a solid foundation on which to build the rest of my life.”
lynzey chapman

Mother of four Lynzey Chapman, 39 from Briar Hill accessed the Advanced Learner Loan while studying the Access to Health Professions course at Northampton College.

Lynzey said: “For me the Advanced Learner Loan was essential as I wouldn’t have been able to begin my healthcare training and go on to study to become a midwife, which is what I am doing now at The University of Northampton. I found out about the loan through the College when I applied for the Access course and used it to pay for the college course itself, study materials, stationery and even childcare costs. I would have struggled to pay for these things without that financial help.

“I am now in my second year at university and I use the skills I learnt at college on a daily basis, like medical maths, social science, human biology and important study skills. I used to work as an office manager which I enjoyed but I had always wanted to be a midwife and kept putting off the training due to family commitments. After my fourth child was born I took the leap to retrain and I haven’t looked back. Without the Advanced Learner Loan that wouldn’t have been able to happen. I can’t wait to begin my midwifery career when all my training is complete.”

alexandra constantinouAmbitious Alexandra Constantinou is aiming for big things having embarked on an apprenticeship with engineering giant Siemens.

Setting her sights on a role at the top of the industry, she said: “I would love to be the CEO of a company like Siemens one day. I want to be the best in my field and inspire other female engineers to do the same.”

Her engineering apprenticeship has seen Alexandra take on electrical jobs, mechanical jobs, fault finding, repair work and preventative maintenance.

She said: “I chose to do an Apprenticeship because I wanted to get some experience in the industry before spending so much money on University fees. Every day at work is different. I really enjoy all aspects of my role and I feel that I am constantly learning while earning a wage at the same time.

“It has inspired me to learn more about the design side of engineering and what makes the trains work more effectively, for instance how the shape of the train can help increase its speed. I like to discover how things work and how to fix them.

“I have recommended an Apprenticeship with Northampton College to my friends because the tutors have been very helpful and supportive. They offer you help at the most difficult stages and always encourage you rather than making you feel bad if you can’t do something.”
briony colbert

Briony Colbert, 26 from Far Cotton had not considered HR as a vocation when she left school and instead began her working career in finance at a high street bank.

“One day I just realised that banking just wasn’t for me anymore and decided to take a totally different route into HR,” she said. “I had to retrain and chose the Level 3 CIPD in Human Resources Practice at Northampton College as I had heard such good things about it through one of my friends who said it would be great for me. She was right.”

Briony studied at the College’s Lower Mounts site and was able to finance her course and career change through the Advanced Learner Loan.

The loan helped me out so much – I couldn't have afforded it otherwise. It was an easy process and the College’s Enrolment Centre helped me apply for it.

“Lower Mounts was a great site to be based at and I didn't feel out of place. I loved the course and the fact there were so many different units covered like HR information and employment relations. During the last months of the course I gained employment as a HR Assistant within local government where I get to put everything I learned at college into practice.”

Thriving on the variety of her job, Briony has not looked back. “I love that every day is different in HR – one day I am helping out with casework and the next I am making offers of employment. Hopefully within the next five years I will have completed my Level 5 CIPD in Human Resources Management and will be a HR Adviser.

“I would recommend Northampton College to anyone. I got excellent support which has helped me progress into the career I wanted.”


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