That 'spark' moment - the importance of Apprenticeship Ambassadors by Usaamah Latif

Usaamah Latif is an Engineering Apprentice at BMW MINI Plant Oxford. He is studying for a degree alongside his Apprenticeship, which is fully funded by the company. As we celebrate Volunteers Week this week (1-7 June), Usaamah explains how as an Apprenticeship Ambassador, he can give other young people that 'spark' moment to help them choose a career. 

Usaamah says: "It’s a strange feeling presenting in front of a school. You can feel the assumed pressure of the students and teachers glaring at you, waiting for the moment you inevitably make a mistake. Despite this, I manage to volunteer for presentations numerous times a year. Probably because I’m crazy, although, definitely because I genuinely enjoy giving solid advice.

It’s incredibly easy to deliver a message you believe in. In my case, I can talk until I’m blue in the face about Apprenticeships, because I genuinely believe in them. It is a fantastic experience to be able to trigger a spark in a student’s eye, as when I was in that situation, completely unaware of what I wanted to do in the future, all it takes is a spark to start a career.

Being an Apprenticeship Ambassador is an incredibly rewarding experience. David Allison, managing director of ‘GetMyFirstJob’ illustrates the problem pretty well: “Why would a 16-year-old suddenly wake up, having never met an accountant, and want to be an accountant?” This is why I especially enjoy those 'spark' moments. It’s incredibly important for young people to hear advice from people who, not very long ago, were in that same position that they are in. It makes them understand why professionals choose the career that they do."

If you're interested in getting involved in our work with schools, or becoming an Apprenticeship Amabssador, please email skills@oxfordshirelep.com to find out more.