Series of six short films follows a group of teenagers as they try being an apprentice for the day in a wide variety of trades.
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High-tech engineer, dental nurse, hairdresser - an apprenticeship
can be a great way to get yourself skilled up without going to uni,
and earn some hard cash while you're training.
There are currently over 1,500 types of job you can do
as an apprentice. To find out more, we got together six school students.
Each will discover what it's like to be an apprentice for a day.
The would-be apprentices meet someone who knows
plenty about jobs and how to choose the right one.
Before even thinking about what apprenticeship you should take,
it's really important you guys start thinking about what you're good at.
What's most important is you enjoy what you do
because if you are happy, then you will be successful.
Here's Ellie's story.
Hi, I'm Ellie, I'm 15 years old and I'm currently doing my GCSEs.
My favourite subjects are food tech and art
but, most of all, I enjoy baking.
Last year, we did a competition called the Future Chef competition
and my school entered our class into it and I won my school heat for that
and then we got into the North West Finals.
It was really exciting. I think I learnt a lot from it.
Mum, come and taste my cheesecake.
When I cook something and then everyone enjoys it,
it makes it feel worthwhile.
Mmm, very nice, Ellie, it tastes lovely.
I don't really know much about apprenticeships,
but I'd like to find out more about them.
Ellie has an in-depth session with careers mentor Aimee.
OK, Ellie, have you got an idea of what you'd like to do in your career?
-Er, involved with, like, cooking and baking...
-I like the creative side of it.
When I saw cooking in GCSEs at school, it got me really interested in it.
Would you say that was a real passion?
Yeah, the creative side of it.
What about the academic side of things? Is that something that you enjoy?
I mostly enjoy like more like art and food technology
instead of like science and maths.
So it's fair to say that you are more of a practical learner, a doer.
-You want to get out there and do?
So as part of your journey and your decision about this apprenticeship,
how about you spend the day with one of the UK's leading chefs?
Yeah, that would be really good!
First step - Ellie needs to look the part.
Top British Chef, Michael Caines, has two Michelin stars
and runs some of the country's finest restaurants.
He's employed dozens of apprentices.
One them is 18-year-old pastry chef Aidan.
Go on, Aidan. In you go. That's it, perfect. Excellent.
He's on a two-year apprenticeship and is ready to show Ellie
how things work in a professional kitchen.
-Hi, Ellie, I'm Aidan.
-Hi, I'm Ellie.
OK, Ellie, so today we're just going to make some macaroons.
-Have you ever made any macaroons before?
So how did you get in to being an apprentice?
From school, I started working on weekends at a local restaurant,
which gave me good experience in working in a professional kitchen.
And then after that, working for two years and weekends,
I, er, applied to do my NVQ2 at college,
through Michael Caines' apprenticeship.
Good GCSE grades helped Aidan get the apprenticeship.
So when I first started, I specialised in the pastry section
so, you know, making the bread and doing preparation for lunch service.
From making the bread,
Aidan quickly progressed to creating elaborate desserts.
The pastry section is quite different to the main kitchen.
You've got to be exact with your measurements and all that,
because if you don't have precise measurements,
the recipe won't work.
So you look like you really enjoy your job,
would you say there's any downsides?
The disadvantage is obviously the unsociable hours,
but that's what comes with the job.
So what are the advantages of doing
an apprenticeship rather than just going to college?
In college, you're being taught by one teacher
and say about 20 students.
But the advantage of being in an apprenticeship in the workplace
is you're the one student
being taught by 20 chefs,
so you get all their knowledge for yourself.
Do you think it's good to be earning money while you're training?
Yes, definitely so. It's nice to have a bit of money
just to do what you want with it.
And Aidan has some clever tips about how to get noticed as an apprentice.
On your days off, you can always get your cookery books,
start making your own things and then go into work and show them,
showing that you're learning. They love that.
It's all about learning. What you put in, you'll get out basically.
Within our apprenticeship programme,
we're looking for bright, young individuals
that want to engage with the hospitality industry and within our company and progress.
And we offer lots of progression for those individuals.
I think somebody like you, Ellie, is a really good candidate
because you've shown that you're interested, you've taken part
with the competition,
you've also done work experience,
which is really all very, very positive when you go to an employer like myself.
Would you recommend a career as a chef?
If I can't recommend a career in cooking, then nobody can!
I think it's a great industry that Britain can be proud of,
along with fashion and all the other wonderful things we are exporting.
One of the things that makes Britain very special is multiculturalism -
the fact that we have influence from all around the world in our culture,
within our society and that's reflecting on our cuisine.
And that identity that we have about being British
is something people want to buy into
as well as us being able to export
along with all the other great things in the UK.
I've really enjoyed myself today, I found it really fun.
I thought that, in the kitchen,
it was more relaxed than I thought it would be. But most importantly,
I realise I can use my creative side when working.
I think it would be really good for me.
Here's Josh's story.
Hi, my name's Josh. I'm 16.
At school, I study A levels in maths, chemistry, physics and biology.
One of my hobbies is climbing!
As well as my climbing, I enjoy doing rugby.
I've got a moderate hearing loss,
so I've got to wear hearing aids to bring it to a normal level.
You may see it inside the ear.
They haven't kept me back from doing anything.
I don't really know what apprenticeships involve,
so I'd be keen to find out and learn more.
Josh has an in-depth session with careers mentor Aimee.
So, Josh, have you had any thoughts of what you might like to do with your career?
-Well, I've looked at dentistry.
I did some work experience and found it really interesting.
So how are you thinking you are going to get there?
I'm studying my A levels now and the dental courses
-I've looked at are three As, or two As and a B.
-Very competitive, yeah.
It's a lot of pressure to put on someone to try and get those grades.
You could actually use an apprenticeship as a route to that goal.
An apprenticeship as a dental nurse would be a really good way
for you to then get on to a dental degree.
I think that would be a really good option for you,
so that you haven't put a massive amount of pressure on this one route.
And what we've arranged is for you to spend a day
with an award-winning dental practice. How does that sound?
Yeah, that sounds exciting. It'd be a good experience.
Josh is spending the day with a dental practice
owned and run by husband and wife team, Jim and Marcia Fotheringham.
They've won national recognition for their apprentice training programme.
Ready to work!
Josh is going to shadow recently qualified dental nurse Philippa.
After passing GCSEs in maths, English and science,
then a diploma in health care at college,
Philippa took a year's apprenticeship here,
gaining an NVQ Level 3.
It is a good job, really challenging and rewarding.
I do like being in the surgery -
that's my favourite bit, to be working alongside the dentist.
She's going to show Josh how a surgery works.
-Hi, nice to meet you.
I think it's helpful to work on the job alongside dentists
and other nurses that have done the course
and then going to college one night a week
because there was other girls on the courses that we did,
and they were just at college,
whereas we were working alongside a dentist at the time,
and we knew a lot more
and were picking up on it a lot faster than what they were.
I'm happy to put a repair on it but at least let's take an X-ray.
We're just X-raying a patient's tooth
to see what's causing the problems in his mouth.
There's so little tooth left, you need some reinforcement in there,
so it probably needs a root filling.
What subjects did you do at school that you find useful now?
Obviously, your sciences, things like that are useful
but also stuff like your English.
IT was good because everything is on computers now.
It used to be all on cards, but it's all on to computers now.
When the dentist is dictating notes, telling you which teeth are missing,
which teeth have got amalgam fillings, composites, crowns,
you need to be able to keep on track of all that.
I think it's nice to challenge yourself and do that extra bit,
so you can go on to university.
So this is a glass isonomer cement that we're going to mix today,
which is a filling material that's used in dentistry.
I would like to go into dental hygiene
but, in the meantime, I would like to do some other courses
like radiography, oral health, things like that.
It's always good to get extra qualifications
before you go on to do other things.
We obviously are looking for people with GCSE qualifications.
But there been times when we have had a person
who started out as just coming in as a cleaner,
they then became a receptionist,
they then became a nurse
and the particular person I'm now thinking of
is off at university becoming a dentist.
What kind of qualities do you look for
when you take on a young apprentice?
I always say to people get as much education as you can,
but, in case you are somebody who hasn't had it, don't let that stop you from coming in.
As long as you are interested in doing the work,
because obviously you need the education once you come in here,
so you need to be willing to do that.
As long as you are somebody like that, we can always work with the rest of it.
You don't see many male dental nurses.
Is it a job you would recommend for a male?
I think that the profession of dental nurses
had been affected in a negative way by low salaries at one point.
I think since that's changed.
I'm hoping and I expect to see
more men apply for those kinds of positions
because now they are getting paid well
and making money is always good.
I've really enjoyed today. It's been a good experience. I've learnt a lot.
I definitely think an apprenticeship could be a good way into the profession.
Here's Lewis's story.
Hi, my name's Lewis, I'm 17.
I'm doing maths, geography and business at A levels.
My hobbies are biking...
But what I really love doing is flying those.
It's like the dream you had when you were a child
to just take off and fly.
The view is just amazing.
I love everything mechanical really,
especially if it's got an engine on it.
I often get shouted at sometimes.
Instead of doing the work that I should be doing,
I get distracted and start fixing things.
I'd like to own my own business and be my own boss.
It would have to be something that I'm passionate about
and I think it's the best way of making money.
So I think that an apprenticeship might be the way forward,
but I don't know much about them so I'd like to find out more.
Lewis has an in-depth session with careers mentor Aimee.
You do fly helicopters, and how long have you being doing that?
-Since I was 14.
-That's incredible! How many hours have you done?
I've done eight out of 45, which I need for my pilot's licence.
OK, so this isn't just something that you think you'd like to do,
-you're actually doing it...
-I'm working towards it.
-..and loving it.
Look at your eyes light up when you talk about that.
So is that something you'd like to
-incorporate into your career, longer term?
Are there any areas at the moment that you, I suppose at school,
those type of stuff or any jobs
you think, "I definitely wouldn't want to do that"?
-Um, a normal job.
-Like a desk job.
You don't want to be sat behind a desk for eight hours.
-Have you thought much about apprenticeships?
-Yeah, I have,
because I don't really fancy going to university either.
Right, OK, I would say that
possibly looking at an apprenticeship within engineering,
-maybe something like that?
What I've organised for you is to go and spend a day
with one of the UK's leading engineering companies.
-Does that sound good?
-Well, let's do that.
-Yeah, that's brilliant, yeah. Thank you.
Time for Lewis to get suited and booted.
Lewis will be shadowing 16-year-old Natasha.
She's just a few months into
an advanced technical apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce.
The three-year course
will enable her to qualify as a manufacturing engineer.
Natasha starts by taking Lewis
on a grand tour of the company's state-of-the-art apprentice academy.
It's base to around 250 apprentices.
So what's the process for getting an apprenticeship with this company?
We first had to apply online, it was all online, and upload your CV,
a bit about yourself, why you wanted to be an apprentice,
what you thought you could bring to the company.
Then after that, you got a call back, an interview.
You had to have a bit of background knowledge about Rolls-Royce -
the engines or the company -
and they test you on your knowledge on that.
And the last one was all about you.
You had to bring in a project you had done
or something you had been working on.
They also ask why you should be an apprentice, why should they choose you over anyone else.
You have to really think about that and make yourself stand out.
The nozzle has a spiral on it.
That's one to scare the birds off or to show which way the fan is turning when it is in flight...
Engineering is sometimes traditionally seen as a male occupation,
so how is it being a female in this environment?
You don't get treated any differently.
I think the only thing maybe is you feel more pushed to prove yourself,
that you can work in this environment.
There's nothing that puts us back.
Everyone gets on and everyone's an equal.
So this is the CNC Section, the computer controlled milling,
we're going to show you what happens over here now.
Press the green button.
Where do you see yourself being in a few years' time?
Within my role, I can go anywhere.
Capability acquisition, which is bringing in new projects, new ideas,
trying to bring them through from the concept of the idea
right through to the idea being physically there.
There's continuous improvement,
which is taking an old product or an old project
and trying to see how you can make it better, how it can be improved.
There's also the design side of it, new ideas, new concepts.
We do a lot of workshop-based things. We're trying to disassemble
a starter motor, and this is for a Trent 1000 jet engine.
Although there's a firm structure to the learning,
it's also down to the individual to make the most of their training.
We can sit and do nothing if we want to, but if we want to get somewhere,
it's our responsibility to get there.
We've got to self-manage ourselves, do our own work.
They do help us, they do push us, but it's up to us in the end.
And are there any downsides?
There's the NVQ, the BTEC, and there's also additional courses
and it is a lot to take on,
so it can get quite stressful when things build up.
But it's worth the effort and all the hard work
and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.
It's time for Lewis to meet the boss and find out more.
We've got a huge range of apprenticeship programmes
within the organisation.
Practical apprenticeships, technical apprenticeships,
but the variety of those roles is very broad.
It can be engineering, manufacturing, it can be design,
it can be leadership, it can be programme management.
So there is a huge variety of roles that we have.
There's a lot of competition for good apprenticeship places.
Some employers will train you in basic skills,
but most, like this company, will want to see decent GCSE grades,
or equivalent qualifications, to get on Advanced Apprenticeships.
And, for Higher Apprenticeships, you'll require strong A level,
or equivalent, qualifications.
For me, it's all about motivation, application and attitude.
The round of skills we're looking for
is the flexibility, the motivation.
People who are really going to lead their own development
and take accountability for their programme and develop themselves
through a structured framework that we have in place within the company.
So would you recommend an engineering apprenticeship to a young person?
I started as an apprentice myself.
I think it gives you great foundations for the rest of your career,
so I certainly would recommend the apprenticeship pathway.
It's been a fascinating day here.
I'm quite amazed at the number of apprenticeships
that are available with this world-leading company in engineering.
I think I might go and apply now!
Here's Beth's story.
Hi, I'm Beth, I'm 14.
I'm studying English, maths and science GCSEs at school.
I really like doing science and, on a Saturday, I work here.
When I am in the salon, I take appointments,
do quite a lot of cleaning around, make sure that it's nice and clean.
I really like the atmosphere, they're really nice people to work with.
I like to do my mum's nails quite a lot,
if we are just like sat relaxing.
If my mum isn't at home I like to be going out shopping with my dad,
but I make sure he's got his credit card on him so I can spend his money.
At this stage in my life, I think I need to have some good skills
so I can achieve my goal for where I want to be in the future.
I don't really know much about an apprenticeship,
but I think I would like to know more.
Beth has an in-depth session with careers mentor Aimee.
So, Beth, I'd like to know what it is that you'd like to
-do with your career. Have you got any ideas yet?
well, with my career I want to make it further
-and be involved with hairdressing and beauty therapy.
Have you worked in a hairdressing salon before?
I've got some experience within a salon.
That's fantastic because when you're going for apprenticeships and when
employers are looking for new staff, anybody that's already got that
experience is going to... It's like they think it's tried and tested,
you've done that, you're definitely sure this is the career
you want to do. So your nightmare job would be?
Sat in front of a computer all day.
OK. So what does the dream look like then?
I'll be owning my own salon doing hairdressing and beauty.
So, how about we organise for you to spend the day with
one of the UK's leading hairdressers.
-Does that sound OK?
-Yeah, that sounds really good.
-OK, let's do that then.
Beth is spending the day with
twice-winner of British Hairdresser of the Year Andrew Collinge.
I think people really like to feel glamorous
and really dress their hair well.
He has two salons employing recent graduate apprentices
and runs two purpose-built training academies,
which have been classed as outstanding by Ofsted.
Currently, he's responsible for nearly 200 apprentices.
I think this is great. I mean, I particularly
like the fringe area because you've made it slightly asymmetric,
which is always really flattering rather than just too straight.
Looks great. Really good.
I'm ready to work.
Beth is going to shadow 17-year-old Natasha.
She's halfway through a two-year apprenticeship here,
which will earn her an NVQ Level 2.
Students can stay on for a further year to take
an Advanced Apprenticeship, gaining an NVQ Level 3.
Natasha shows Beth her prized possession -
the kit case every apprentice gets when they start.
If we open it,
it's got everything you need inside. So you'll get all your clips,
all your combs, your brush bag with all of your brushes in.
How come you chose to do an apprenticeship rather than
being on a full-time college course?
I think it's more hands-on really if you are doing an apprenticeship
and plus, you meet lots of new people. These are like people that
you're going to know for quite a while
because you're working with them for so long,
so you're making really good friends,
like lifetime friends maybe even.
It's more hands-on, more practical.
You're getting experience off watching really experienced
people do their work and do their clients,
so really you are just learning from watching.
When you slide intercut, you can release the length.
It gives the impression of the hair being a bit longer.
-How's that? That's a top tip.
What subjects did you do in school
that you find useful being a hairdresser?
Obviously you take maths and your English and stuff like that,
so I passed both of them.
I found it easier with the maths to mix up the ratios with
the colours and the peroxides,
so even though it's on the wall next to you, you still can work it out
in your head how much you need and how much you've got to put in,
and then with your English, I think really it's just about speaking
properly to the clients. It's not about changing how you speak
or making yourself sound posh, it's just speaking correctly to them.
Are there any downsides to having a hairdressing job?
The only thing is that you've got to wake up at like
six o'clock in the morning sometimes to come to work to be in for eight.
But I love working earlies, it just make the day go so much quicker.
How important is it to be earning money while you're training?
You feel better earning you own money
because you don't have to then go and ask your parents for money,
and have to be constantly owing them money back.
When you are working and you've got your own money
it's fine, because you can go and do whatever you want with it
because it's your money, you've earned it.
We're looking for someone that's just enthusiastic.
It doesn't necessarily have to say they can have skills at that point,
but just really have the right attitude.
It's really well to try and do as well as you can at school.
Say, for example, you have a GCSE Level C and above
in English and Maths,
then you won't have to do what's called functional skills.
Otherwise, when you are here part of your day will be doing
things like arithmetic and English.
So doing well at school can really help you. You can sort
of fast-track and get on quicker learning how to be a hairdresser.
That's incredible. It really is, to be able to put the hair up
that neatly, with hair that is so long, requires real skill.
To be doing this when you are only halfway through
the first year of training is fantastic.
Apprentices and hairdressing go really well together.
Yes, when you start, it's not a particularly high wage,
but you are being paid while you train,
and the great thing about hairdressing is the vast majority
of people that do an apprenticeship go on to full-time employment.
You can work in a salon, you can own your own business,
you can decide if you want to work on photoshoots,
become what's called a session stylist.
If you've got top qualifications in hairdressing, it really is
a passport to travel the world.
Pull it so the ponytail sort of jumps away from the head slightly.
You can do that by taking a few sections
and sort of wrapping it around,
and then just put a grip in here.
I have heard that hairdressers are quite positive and happy people.
Is that correct?
They do surveys from time to time and hairdressers
invariably come out at the top of the people most happy at work.
I think it is really good to be able to be creative all the time.
No two hairstyles are ever the same, so every day is different.
It's a job where you really control your own destiny.
I think everyone who is training here today would agree with me
that they really are in a very worthwhile career.
I've had a really good day today.
I've learnt a lot of being in a big teaching environment.
As soon as I'm 16, I'm signing up for a hairdressing apprenticeship.
Here's Evie's story.
Hi, I'm Evie.
I'm 15. I'm doing ten GCSEs, my favourite one is PE,
but what I really love doing is playing football.
I've played it since I was seven
and it's a great feeling when you score a goal.
I live in the Lake District, so I love outdoor activities.
I love hill walking and I do a lot of road cycling.
For my future, I've been considering university courses but I've also been
looking at apprenticeships and I'd really like to find out more.
Evie has an in-depth session with careers mentor Aimee.
I'm into loads of different sports.
I've played four different sports at county level.
-Do you get involved in the coaching side of it?
I help out with the PDC, which is the Play Development Centre
in Cumbria, and I help coach the under 11s and under 9s girls.
OK. Do you enjoy that?
I do, I love it. I'm not bothered about money
and that sort of stuff.
I was going to ask what motivates you.
I'm motivated by doing what I love doing and helping people.
And the good thing about not being motivated by money is that
that allows you a massive amount of freedom,
because then you can just, "Right. What do I really love doing?"
And make that your career and it can be done for sure. For sure.
So taking that on board, all of the things that
you enjoy and also the things that you are good at,
we'll organise for you to spend the day with one of the leading
outdoor educational centres. How does that sound?
Sounds brilliant. I'd love to do that, yeah.
-I think you'd be fantastic at it.
Evie's going to spend the day
shadowing apprentice outdoor learning tutor Tom.
Go and stand over there for me, please. Go, go, go.
So, team, may I introduce Evie.
Evie is going to be working with us today.
ALL: Hi, Evie!
And it's straight in at the deep end, leading a group of inner city
youngsters up a mountainside torrent.
Good balancing there.
When I came in, I didn't really have any qualifications as such.
I've got a lot of outdoor experience,
but I didn't have any actual pieces of paper to back that up.
But they could see that I was keen and willing to learn.
Tom's halfway through his year apprenticeship.
When he's finished, he'll have an NVQ Level 3 qualification
and a Mountain Leader Award.
But it's not just about doing adventurous activities.
To be a successful outdoor tutor,
you need to know how to deal well with children.
It's a lot about projecting the right kind of attitudes to the kids.
If something is difficult, then you need to make them
think that they can do it
because a lot of them, they have the capacity to do these things,
they just... There's an overriding discomfort there,
because a lot of these kids have never even walked on uneven
ground before, you know, so to take them up a mountain is a big step.
The bigger ones can get their feet on. The littler ones can only get
their knees on and they will come up on their knees.
If you can, you can put your foot here. If you can. There we go.
Why did you decide to do this sort of qualification instead
of going to university?
You can come out of university having spent about 48 grand
after three or four years at uni,
and you'd come out with maybe a couple of qualifications.
You can learn things doing this every day that you don't
learn in the classroom.
Three years spent working in the outdoors versus three years
studying the outdoors doesn't give you the same level of experience.
Shall we carry on? Who's going to be our next leader?
It's a bit cold, but it's good fun.
You have to be 18 to do this apprenticeship and you
actually live here whilst you're doing it. How do you find that?
It's amazing, yeah. I mean, the pay's not great
but at the end of the month I still get 400 quid in my pocket.
I don't have any overheads. I get all my food.
I never have to worry about anything like that,
so you know I think it's a pretty good shout.
And for the view that I've got, looking out across Derwent Water,
it's second to none.
Would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
Absolutely. Yes, I would.
I think it is a superb way to spend time.
You'll get a sound base of skills - people skills,
group skills, teamwork skills - that will help you in any job.
My personal confidence three years after starting down this road
is so much greater than it was when I started.
Yeah, I'd absolutely whole-heartedly recommend it.
The sun's out now. Beautiful.
I guess we are looking for some confidence of
working with young people.
So we are look for some evidence that apprentices have either
worked in the past with kids,
or they've done some volunteering like, you know, through
sort of Scouts and Guides, or even just gone to like the local primary
school and asked if they can sort of help out and do stuff like that.
One more, Alexis. Hook that foot up onto the next one.
So bring your feet up. Brilliant.
From a skills point of view,
if you look at sort of, you know, canoeing, kayaking, hill walking,
rock climbing, those are like your sort of your mainstay activities.
We're really after some strength in a couple of those,
maybe some qualifications, even just at the basic sort of level.
But also we are after people who have got quite
a lot of personal experience.
If you are working at sort of this level with kids, you need to have
a personal experience level of something like that
to give you a decent buffer zone in case you come across any problems.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship as a good way in to the outdoor industry?
It's one of a number of ways in and it's one of those jobs where
there isn't a clear career path in.
Certainly here, it gives young people a great opportunity to come
and be based in the Lake District
and to get out, and when you're not working, get out
and play in the Lake District as well, which is actually
encouraged because it's all working on your personal experience.
It's not a particularly well-paid industry.
There are good jobs out there, but they are hard to get
and you need to be good, so the younger you start,
the more chance of sticking in you have to get those good jobs.
Outdoor education is a kind of a worldwide phenomenon really.
It's a fantastic opportunity to travel,
to get a suntan and just be able to enjoy yourself,
and do those activities in lots of different places
and it's just wonderful.
I've had a really good day today.
I've seen that Tom does something which he really loves to do.
He's earning money while he's still getting an education.
I'm really interested to go find out more about all the different apprenticeships that are out there.
Here's Courtney's story.
Hi, I'm Courtney. I'm 15 years old, I'm doing seven GCSEs,
but what I really love doing is playing with Buster.
He's seven years old, nearly eight.
He's really big, but he's just a really big softy.
I like drawing. It's really creative.
It's just a nice way of relaxing.
I think I'm good at fixing things
and just putting things together, practical work.
I think I need to get some good qualifications and training behind me
so I can get my own business.
I don't actually know much about apprenticeships,
but I'd really like find out more.
So, Courtney, have you any ideas about what you would like to do?
Yeah, I was thinking I might want to do a plumbing apprenticeship.
OK. What's made you think down that route?
I've always wanted to do something not so expected.
Something different that, I suppose, girls wouldn't necessarily be
thought of in that industry. OK. What about fixing things
and being practical, cos plumbing is all about that, isn't it?
Yeah. When I was a child,
I always used to break my sister's toys just to fix them.
-Did you really?
OK. So this does sound like the type of job that you'd be very good at.
So as part of that, do you think that this is something
you'd like to do long-term? What does the end goal look like?
I'd really like to get my own business.
I've always pictured myself having my own little white van
with my name on it.
OK. Well, let's make it happen.
So as part of that route then, let's look at apprenticeships.
How about we arrange for you to go and spend the day with
one of the most high-profile plumbing businesses in the UK?
-How about that? Does that sound OK?
-That sounds good.
-Let's do that.
Courtney is going to shadow 22-year-old Billy.
He's recently completed a three-year apprenticeship
here at Pimlico Plumbers in Central London
and today, he's going to show Courtney some basic skills.
Many companies, like this one,
team up with a local college to offer both on-the-job training and
a day a week spent in the classroom as part of the apprenticeship.
I got my Level 2 NVQ
and then that allowed me to work on plumbing,
and toilets and bathrooms and stuff,
and then after that, went on to do my Level 3, which then
goes into a bit more depth and I was able to do my gas.
So I can work on boilers and heating and stuff.
There you go, your very first soldered joint. Not bad.
-Not bad at all.
-That felt so natural.
That was good. That's a very good joint.
Billy's now most of the way through a two-year extended
training programme, which will allow him to go out on jobs
without being supervised by a senior plumber.
-Where do you see yourself in a couple of years time?
-I'm now 22.
I'd like to, by the time I'm 23, is to go out there and hopefully earn
60 to £70,000 a year and then by the time I'm 30, hopefully,
is to own my own house. That's my goal.
What did you take from school that's helpful to you working as a plumber?
When you are working with pipes and stuff, you need to know sizes and different equations.
Obviously, maths always helps. English is always a good one.
Obviously you need to have clear handwriting when you're writing stuff for customers -
they need to be able to understand it as well as you.
So, Courtney, what we've got here is a blocked toilet.
I'm going to show you how to unblock one.
Is plumbing a good job and would you recommend it?
Plumbing is a good job. I would recommend it.
You can't be too fussed about your nails or your hair,
you are going to get dirty.
Sometimes you can't always use these,
so you've just got to go bare-handed
and just pull out... Oh, there's something here.
Hold up. Oh, there it is.
Thankfully, today, for demonstration purposes,
it's nothing worse than a chocolate bar.
It's a good job, it's enjoyable
and from helping a customer, you get a lot of satisfaction.
I think what I look for most in a young person
is determination and drive when they come in.
You've got to have a passion for it.
It's something that takes three to five years to do as an apprentice,
and then you actually become a plumber at the end of that, you know.
It feels like it's going to break!
So how much do you earn when you are an apprentice plumber
and how much can you earn when you are fully qualified?
I would say that apprentices are not paid the greatest whichever
company they work for, however, it's not a short-term thing.
At the end of it, the earning potential is great,
it's fantastic, it's huge.
Our plumbers in London can earn, on average, about £50,000 a year,
but if they put more work in and more hours in, they can earn
anything up to £100,000 a year and some even slightly more than that.
But they are working hard for that.
But we always say, you know, the money that you can earn has
to be honest and it has to be for a quality service that you deliver
and that's something that all trades people should aspire to.
Do you think it's a good job for a woman to get into?
I think plumbing or any of the trades are an excellent trade for women to get into.
Although people may think it's a bit unusual being a girl turn up
in a plumber's van and toolbox, they do like it
and the girls who work for us, they remain extremely busy,
they have great clientele and they are really highly thought of.
I'd recommend it.
It's been a great day.
I've had lots of fun.
I've learnt a lot and now I know that I want to be a plumber.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Hi-tech engineer, hairdresser, plumber, chef, outdoor education tutor, dental nurse - they all have to start their careers somewhere. An apprenticeship can be a terrific way into a job, to earn while you learn and offers a real alternative to university for many young people. This dynamic series of six short films follows a group of engaging teenagers as they try out being an apprentice for the day in a wide variety of trades.