Back to the old school for Apprenticeship Ambassador Emily

Emily Bampton is a Relationship Management Apprentice with NatWest Bank based in Botley, Oxford. She started sixth form at The Cherwell School but decided it wasn’t right for her, so left to start her Advanced Apprenticeship in October 2015.

Emily became an Apprenticeship Ambassador in March 2016 and was really keen to visit her former school to talk to students, as she would have found it really helpful to hear first-hand from an Apprentice when she was in the sixth form wondering whether an Apprenticeship was the right choice for her. Emily wanted to share her experience of deciding to do an Apprenticeship, applying for vacancies and the opportunities that an Apprenticeship can offer, to help students make an informed career choice.

Emily met one of her former teachers at an Apprenticeships event during National Apprenticeship Week and asked if she could come and talk to the students. As a result, Careers Adviser Jason Davis invited her to give a talk for students in Year 11 and the sixth form as part of an Apprenticeships information session for interested students. The session also gave students the chance to hear from Oxfordshire Apprenticeships about types and levels of Apprenticeships and about current and future opportunities from fantastic local Apprenticeship employers Oxford City Council and the University of Oxford.

Some of Emily’s friends were among the students listening to her talking about her choices and experiences and she really enjoyed being able to help and advise them at this important time.

Greg Howgego, 18, is in Year 13. He says: “It was fantastic to hear Emily talk. Her talk really highlighted that Apprenticeships are not merely an equally valid alternative to university, in the case of some students, they will provide a better option. It is important for actual Apprentices, who are successful examples, to come in and to give Apprenticeships the same exposure as universities, so the current students will give them a fair hearing. This will make it more likely that students for whom Apprenticeships are a good option are more likely to end up on the best path for them.”

Emily said: “I was really excited to return to Cherwell, share my story and help to broaden people’s perceptions of Apprenticeships. When I was at the school we had very basic information about Apprenticeships but if I’m honest it wasn’t detailed enough and seemed to be presented as third to sixth form or college. This is a trap that a lot of people have fallen into when considering their options, including myself. But I’m now in a fantastic Apprenticeship, where I’m studying hard and learning lots! This is why I think it’s important that every young person knows about all their options to make an informed decision that’s best for them.”

“I’m hoping to continue working with The Cherwell School so events like this can take place in assemblies with younger students, so that Apprenticeships are part of the dialogue as they start to consider their options and aren’t just an afterthought.”

Careers Adviser Jason Davis said: “Emily could have continued into Year 13 and then gone to university, but she chose an Apprenticeship as the better option for her. It was important that other Cherwell students got to hear Emily’s personal story in choosing an Apprenticeship over university. To help ensure that students are well informed about Apprenticeships as an option, I also invited two big local employers and asked them to talk to the students about the current labour market in Oxford and what employers are looking for, as well as Oxfordshire Apprenticeships to advise them about how to find Apprenticeships.”