Why did you choose to go to PM Training?
I had completed my A levels at college, and I realised I didn’t want to go to university. I found the idea an unrealistic next step for me, something I didn't actually want to do, so I decided to do something completely different. I wanted to learn in a different kind of environment. I no longer wanted to be behind a desk, I wanted practical skills and the ability to earn money.
I told myself it would be a nice opportunity to challenge myself, learn new things and get some hands on experience. PM Training helped me make my own decisions about my future, because I was heavily influenced by high school and college telling me what the next step was, and it seemed like my future had to be decided on the spot.
Not everyone knows what they want to do when they leave high school, or college. I don't remember much talk about apprenticeships, but I hope people are more aware of them now, because I believe a lot of people would be better suited to going through with an apprenticeship than to go to college or university.
What do you remember about your time at PM Training?
I was very nervous, and felt a little out of place because the majority of people there were all young teenage boys, and with me being a little older it felt bizarre. Some of them were fresh out of high school, and for a moment I wondered if I’d taken a backwards step rather than moving forwards.
However, I realised after my four week trial, doing a different trade a week, that I enjoyed painting. I remember my first time wallpapering, and when I was learning practical skills on the vans with my supervisor before I was approved to be an apprentice and to go on site. It was a difficult adjustment from sitting all day behind a desk to constantly moving, but it was a welcome adjustment.
You have to work, have good attendance and face deadlines. You have to learn teamwork, time management, working alongside other trades and you have to learn about Health and Safety. This is not high school anymore, and no one is going to do the work for you. You have to pull your own weight. My early memories of PM Training were of learning to grow up and learning how to be in a working environment.
How did your apprenticeship change your career path?
I have more options now, and feel glad that I have a variety of skills under my belt.
Honestly, I have no set idea of what I'm going to do once I finish my apprenticeship. I feel that my experience, and the new skills will help me in whatever I decide to do.
PM Training to me is a stepping stone to help me move forward, so even if I don't paint forever, I have confidence that the experience I have is invaluable, and that I at least know what is expected of me in a working environment.
What piece of advice would you give to young people considering an apprenticeship?
I would say that an apprenticeship is full of opportunities but you have to stick at it. Nothing comes out of nothing, so you have to work, and do your best.
I see many people give up because something got a little difficult or didn't go the way they wanted, so I say if you're going to do it, do it. I always think that if you're going to do something, do it properly, and you won't see full results if you give up, and you may miss out on many opportunities.
Where has your job taken you?
I'm still painting, but currently in 'painting maintenance'. I work for a charity called Gingerbread, who support vulnerable families.
I make sure the flats where these families will temporarily live are painted and safe, and help maintain the building to how it should be. When the families move on to a better place of living, I paint the flats again for the next family to move in so it's a decent place to live.
My job has given me a lot of opportunities to grow as a person, and to consider a lot of different options career wise.
What is the most valuable information you learned?
I have learned to take initiative, to be independent, to be more considerate of how my actions affect others and to always think Health and Safety. Always manage your time. I think how to use time in a useful and valuable way must be the best thing I've learned, as it is a skill that can be used in all aspects of life and it makes you more productive.
On April 1st 2021, PM Training became Achieve Training – find out more here
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