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Guest blog from Apprentice, Josh Dixon

At the recent Apprenticeships for England Conference, Josh Dixon spoke about why he chose to do an apprenticeship rather than taking other educational routes and his experience in doing so.

It was great to hear his story and how his career has developed since, so we asked him to write a short blog…

Around 3 years ago, I was on the verge of being kicked out of school without any GCSEs. Scary right?

It was clear to me from about age 12 that the whole school environment wasn’t for me and I had to pursue an alternative route if I was to be successful in my future. By the age of 13 I had already attended 2 high schools and I was struggling to cope at my new school due to the lack of flexibility and the feeling that I was just part of results churning business.

I decided to leave High School at age 15 without any GCSEs and luckily managed to secure a place in an Apprenticeship Academy, where I ended up studying my GCSEs and A-Levels. When I joined the Apprenticeship Academy in September 2014 I had just received the results of my mock exams, two Cs and the rest Es..by the time I left there the following year, I had passed 100% of my GCSEs at A*-B and also picked up a A* in my Business A-Level.

I had always liked Business at both school and the Apprenticeship Academy so the opportunity to do a L3 Business Studies apprenticeship was something that really attracted me. The more I looked into it, the more I realised that this was such a better option than me continuing down the standard route of education that had already nearly failed me.

On the day I had my interview for the L3 Business Studies apprenticeship, my school friends were sat in a school hall completing an exam paper, I was sat in offices in a bustling city with successful businessmen and women around me. That day was the turning point for me - thankfully they offered me the position!!

A few weeks later, I started my apprenticeship. I loved the independence and trust that I was given from day one, it built my confidence which helped me to sail through the challenges that I would face without any drama.

I work in the Recruitment department - I’d never been told about recruitment before so I was intrigued as to what this involved and got stuck in straight away. Being a Recruitment Consultant requires a lot of hard work and determination to deal with tricky customers and competitors - something which I have in abundance of.

Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely difficult getting started. I went from attending school 5 hours per day, to working 8 hour days and taking time out of my evenings and weekends to speak with candidates and clients that were too busy to speak during their working days!

After just 2 months in the apprenticeship, I had developed many skills that my friends wouldn’t develop for years, and my overall business knowledge had grown 10 times in comparison to what it would have done had I of been in school reading out of a textbook for 2 hours per week.

Overall, I cannot fault the apprenticeship program. I wouldn’t be in this position today had I not of taken this alternate route. It’s very different to being in education which can be tricky for some people however, if you are someone that struggles in a fixed environment and likes to be given the autonomy to grow and develop your skills then I would highly recommend looking to make the move - it’s definitely worth it.

Josh, 18, is currently working as a Recruitment Consultant with regional Team Leadership responsibilities. Not only has he had 5 promotions in 18 months, he is currently engaged by both Ofsted and the Department of Education as a role model to students and education providers across the UK and further afield - it was only 3 years ago he was on the verge of being kicked out of school and on track to fail his exams and now the opportunities are endless.