City College Pre-Apprenticeship Learning Programme (PALP) graduate Paige Jones aged 17 took a fast-track approach to securing an apprenticeship in her dream career.
Paige is currently an apprentice with the paint and finishing department at M & M Vehicle Repairs part of the M&M Group after having great success on the PALP course with City College this year.
Paige started her PALP in October 2016 working in the business and getting a better understanding of the role. In March 2017 Paige was offered an apprenticeship after only six months on the PALP course which she mastered, she had kept her theory up to date and as a result, gained her qualifications early and was able to join the business.
She said: “The PALP course was great because it teaches life skills, work skills, health and safety training, equal rights, how to get a mortgage, money management and more. All the things you need to get by in real life.
“I thought the PALP course was right for me because it gives you a better taste for an apprenticeship and whether or not it’s right for you. You also have the security of knowing that City College is there to support you and if you decide a pre-apprenticeship isn’t right for you, they will help you change back to A-Levels.”
Paige now goes to college on a Monday for theory and exams and added: “I got more out of the Pre-Apprenticeship course than I expected. I didn’t 100% know if I would get an apprenticeship from it but instead of having to wait until July to find out, because I’d worked hard and got my qualification early, the M&M Group offered me an apprenticeship in March.”
She was really impressed with the advice and support she received from City College and didn’t feel pressured into making a set in stone choice. Paige commented: “The teachers gave me a lot of advice and in the first six weeks they give you a settling in period which is a great idea. They take you on lots of trips to other companies such as Steelite and PM Training so you can get a feel for the different jobs and see if you could see yourself doing them. I thought that was really good and helped us to keep our options open.”
Angela Henry, Business Development Manager at M&M Group commented: “We have been running a successful apprenticeship program here at M&M Vehicle Repairs in Longton for many years. We were approached in 2016 by the newly named City College and the PALP was sold to us straight away. It’s a fantastic way for the young students to enter into the working environment and sample the job role and get a first class understanding of exactly what it entails. It’s a perfect partnership between the student and business and for us, the success outweighs any effort you have to put. I also truly believe that if for any reason the “fit” isn’t right for either party, nothing has been lost and only a clearer understanding gained. It’s important to remember a job title, does not always explain what is actually required from a person to carry out the role – so a Try Before You Buy approach, works for everyone.”
There are other benefits to the Pre-Apprenticeship Learning Programme with City College. Paige added: “A bonus with PALP is the £80 per month which helps pay for expenses such as lunches and travel. It can really help some people out.
“Not just that, but everyone I know who did the PALP has been progressing because they’re doing something they really want to do and working hard so they’re getting an apprenticeship out of it.”
Paige wanted a combination of qualifications and work experience to help her secure her future which is why the PALP course was right for her. She said: “The best thing is you get both experience and a qualification. It makes you feel like you’re really going somewhere in life. By getting the qualifications too you’re not restricted so if I wanted to do something else I have that to fall back on. It’s helped me with my future career so much, hundreds of doors are open to me now and apprenticeships are also going to degree level. I hope to do a degree level apprenticeship and I see myself progressing through the manufacturer training programs that M&M Vehicle Repairs are connected to and become a qualified technician.
“Doing the PALP was great because I hadn’t gone to Haywood Academy so it helped me to make friends and work with new people whilst gaining genuine life skills.”
To find out more about the Pre-Apprenticeship Learning Programme visit: www.citycollege.coop/pre-apprenticeship-learning/how-it-works/