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What does it mean to be a Young Apprentice Ambassador?

10 Aug

Chantel Marshall started with Travis Perkins as a Management Apprentice in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. Now, she’s not only Apprenticeship Mentor and Facilitator, but she’s also part of the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network (YAAN). She told us why it’s so important to spread the word on apprenticeships:

What is the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network?

“The YAAN is a government scheme where current and past apprentices share their experiences. It gives people (including myself) the opportunity to go to schools, colleges and careers fairs to speak to young people who are thinking about what their next step might be, whether that’s after school, sixth form or even university.”

How and why did you become a Young Apprentice Ambassador?

“In 2018 I attended a Big Assembly event with Travis Perkins. The event was basically an online meet-up for teachers, parents and students to learn more about apprenticeships and ask questions. At the event I spoke to someone who mentioned the YAAN and I was immediately interested – and joined up! The opportunity to speak directly to young people about apprenticeships and share my own story really appealed. When I did my A-levels the only thing that was really discussed as the next step was university, so I had to proactively do my own research on apprenticeship schemes. I wish there was more information about apprenticeships and alternative career paths when I was at school, but I’m so glad to be able to help inform young people about this now through my work with the YAAN.”

What do you do as a Young Apprentice Ambassador?

“My favourite part of the role is going to schools and careers fairs. I’ll visit assemblies where year 10 and 11 pupils are sitting GSCEs and considering what their next step might be, and I’ll talk through my experience as an apprentice and now professional. People like to hear about the path beyond the apprenticeship, and my pathway from Management Apprentice to Assistant Manager and now Apprenticeship Mentor and Facilitator can show them a success story that might not be what they think of from apprenticeships. There can still be a stigma around what apprenticeships involve – low levels of pay, menial tasks and long slogs before you make career progress – but many modern apprenticeships aren’t like that. In fact, that was the complete opposite of the experience I had through Travis Perkins. Even now, the Travis Perkins apprenticeship team supports me and allows me to take time out of my working day to go to schools and careers fairs.”

Why do you think it's important to have Young Ambassadors and support young people in their careers?

“Social media and following what your friends are doing have such a big influence on young people today. I think it’s so important for people to find their own pathway in life, especially when it comes to their studies and career. For many people, a paid, degree-level apprenticeship with work experience and no university debt is a better option, and I want to communicate that to them.

I also want to spread the message that there are many different opportunities out there to help you get started in your career. If you need help or support, there are people who are willing to help out and platforms that can provide more information. The government has lots of information and you can find out more about Travis Perkins’ apprenticeship success stories too. If anyone has any questions I’d be happy to shed some light! You can find me on LinkedIn.”

Chantel has moved on from the Group since writing this article. We thank her for her contributions during her time with Travis Perkins and wish her the best of luck in her future career.

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