A WORCESTER man has told of the “incredible” experiences he enjoyed after taking on an apprentice.

Joshua Hooley spoke out as National Apprenticeship Week got under way.

He said: “Taking up a Civil Service apprenticeship at the age of 17 was quite a feat considering I was the youngest person in my department at that time.

“It is a path which has led me to take on a wide range of challenging but rewarding responsibilities including being the campaign manager for an interdepartmental project and leading in areas of operations within my department.

“Apprenticeships are growing, and with a government commitment to deliver three million apprenticeships across the economy by 2020 there hasn’t been a better time to kick start your career with an apprenticeship.

“My apprenticeship experience in short has been incredible.

“I have had such a range of amazing experiences that peers my age who chose different paths through university have not had the opportunity to enjoy.

“From dealing with every day operational challenges which arise within my job to being in London with Ministers walking by after just appearing on national news programmes demonstrates that no day is the same and every day presents exciting new exciting opportunities to learn and progress.

“All of this I have got to experience thanks to my apprenticeship.

“Despite these great opportunities being available sometimes there is a disconnect in highlighting these opportunities and students interests in apprenticeships.

Mr Hooley added: “A recent survey by Ipsos MORI of 2,381 11 to 16 year olds stated 40 per cent of teachers had never even discussed the idea of apprenticeships with them.

“Despite this figure improving from 31 per cent in years previous this is still a gap too wide in my view.

“Apprenticeships should be seen in equal standing to a graduate career path as both can lead to great career success and apprenticeships can also be a financially sensible alternative to university due to expensive tuition fees.

“To ensure recruiters get the best people for the job, it is crucial to make sure opportunities for progression are available for individuals of all backgrounds which, in turn, is more likely to attract the right talent and skills for that job role.

“For me the future is bright and in the future I am seeking to achieve a long and successful career in media and communications and my apprenticeship has given me the right platform and experience to achieve this ambition.”

“Please make the most of National Apprenticeship Week by making sure your friends know what great opportunities and experiences are available through an apprenticeship.”