Meet our Apprentices

» Jodie at Biddenham International School & Sports College

Industry: Business
Apprentice: Jodie Kemp
Apprenticeship: Business Admin Apprenticeship Level 3

Jodie had been working as a dance teacher but always knew she wanted to get back into studying. She’d considered university but didn’t want to commit to the high costs. Having completed an apprenticeship in Early Years when she was 16, Jodie decided to look again at apprenticeships and found a Business Admin role on the Bedford College website. It was something that would add another string to her bow, as she also offers gel nail services.

“I applied through the College website and had a mock interview with the team before going for my interview at Biddenham,” explained Jodie.

“I wanted to work in a school because I believe education is important and I enjoy learning about the support teams behind the school that people don’t see.”

Jodie works in Data with her manager, Colleen and her daily tasks include assessment and exam preparation, entering mark sheets, changing students timetables and much more.

“My job role is quite full on and so I really enjoy the one day a month in College, because it reminds me that I am an apprentice and still studying. If you just apply for a job, you don’t tend to learn the ins and outs of everything in the company or business, and so don’t see the wider picture.

“In College it’s good to gain different views from my fellow students and the work is always very relevant because a few of us work in the education sector.”

Jodie would like to stay at Biddenham after her apprenticeship if a full-time role comes up and then continue studying further to progress up through the levels.

» Ryan and Josh at Bloor Homes

Industry: Construction
Apprentices: Ryan Bell and Josh WIlson
Apprenticeship: Level 2 Bricklaying Apprenticeship

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Ryan completed his first year of the Level 2 qualification on a full-time course at another college. He found out that Bloor Homes were hiring apprentices, so he applied and got the job.

He now attends block release at Bedford College and works on site with Bloor Homes the rest of the time.

“At first it’s easy to think that bricklaying looks quite simple, but when you see houses being built you realise it’s not. Working on site compared to being full-time in College really helps you appreciate what you’re working towards and that someone is actually going to live in the house you are building.”

Ryan works on all types of domestic build from houses to garages and flats.

“My tutors in College will help in every way they can. They’re good at sharing anecdotes from when they worked in industry to help you see how they overcame challenges, which you can then apply to your own work.”

“I’m on a three-year programme with Bloor so will continue to train and work with them until I am ready to go self-employed.”


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After his first year of the Level 2 Bricklaying qualification with Bedford College, Josh and his fellow students were encouraged to try and find apprenticeships for the second year.

Josh decided to apply to a few companies but got his first job offer back from Bloor Homes, which he accepted. He is now one of eight apprentices working for the company.

“I never liked the idea of sixth form,” said Josh. “I was looking to do something building related and I had some friends working at Bloor who were all enjoying it. My tutor Michael helped me with the job search and introduced me to my new employer.”

“I really like working for Bloor; it’s very hands on and they don’t let you stand around and get bored. We work on new build houses and flats and it’s good to stand back after working on someone’s house and think, ‘I built some of that’!

Josh also enjoys his time in College and is aware of the benefits that being an apprentice brings.

“We have more time at College to ask for help and can learn new skills ready to bring on to site. We also learn more technical stuff in College, such as archways, which we wouldn’t at this stage get to do on site.

“Being an apprentice gives you more responsibility and my colleagues are very encouraging of me, plus the pay really motivates you!

“You learn more being out in the real world and my only regret is that I didn’t start an apprenticeship sooner.”

Josh hopes to go self-employed when his apprenticeship comes to an end and wants to stay in the construction industry. He says one day he might want to get into property development or site management.


» Josh at Elma Electronics UK Ltd

Industry: Engineering
Apprentice: Josh Ludovico
Apprenticeship: Engineering Apprentice

Josh has always preferred learning in a hands-on way rather than in the classroom environment. While engineering was new to him when he left school, it is something that runs in the family.

Bedford College put Josh in touch with Elma and he now works there three days a week, while spending one day at the Brunel Road campus doing practical work and one day at the main College campus focuses on theory. At work, Josh designs the metal work for the enclosures to customers’ individual specifications.

“I’ve always liked making something and seeing it come to life, so engineering was an obvious choice for me.

“I love it at Elma because I get given a project to work on and can develop my own ideas, but also collaborate with the wider team and ask the electrical team, for example, if something I’m designing makes sense to them.”

How has an apprenticeship compared to school in reality?

“I really like the more mature environment. It’s nice that there are no younger kids running around so you can focus on what you want to do and get the job done. It slowly introduces you to a working environment.

“At College the tutors all teach with passion and are very knowledgeable about the industry. I can also talk to the other students in my class about the different companies and industries they work in; one works in food processing, for example, so it’s really interesting to hear about everyone’s different experiences.”

Josh has enjoyed “every second” of the apprenticeship so far and hopes to stay with Elma for many years to come.

» Hadleigh at Hislop & Co Horticulture Ltd

Industry: Horticulture
Apprentices: Hadleigh Spicer
Apprenticeship: Grounds Maintenance Apprentice

Hadleigh studied Music Performance at Bedford College after leaving school, before going on to an office-based role and then becoming a manager at a coffee shop for the past four years or so. He’d always had a keen interest in gardening and when he saw a job advert for an apprentice role, a change of career was on the cards!

“I thought it would be a brilliant idea to learn a new skill while earning a wage,” said Hadleigh. “I study at Shuttleworth one day a week, which is great practical learning, but also good to be surrounded by experienced and knowledgeable colleagues everyday. It’s the right college to work ratio for me.”

At College Hadleigh has learnt core skills including pruning and machine maintenance, as well as gaining essential certificates in areas such as pesticide application. The group at College also take trips out to shows and exhibitions and have industry specialists come in and talk to them, such as Felco who manufacture cutting tools.

“I really enjoy the environment at work; I feel like I make a real contribution to the jobs we do and I like interacting with the clients, building relationships and being trusted by my team and management to do so.

“The apprenticeship has taught me the key skills I need and has prepared me for a job in this field, while showing me what options I have for the future. I plan to keep learning and progressing to see what my future in horticulture may lead to.”


» Holly - Environmental Conservation Level 2

Industry:  Landbased
Apprentice: Holly Bilcock, Environmental Conservation 

Holly Bilcock

"I chose to do my apprenticeship in Environmental conservation because I wanted to gain practical skills in the land-based industry. I had recently graduated from university with a degree in Biological Sciences specialising in Ecology. From this I wanted to work as a Ranger or a Warden but lacked any practical skills for these jobs. I saw an opportunity advertised by the college for a work based apprenticeship where I would be able to gain the experience I needed, get relevant qualifications and licenses and also learn about legislation and applied theory while at the same time being able to earn money.

Since starting the apprenticeship, I have already gained many valuable skills. I have become qualified in brush-cutting and strimming, gained my pesticide licences, become certified in the use of woodchippers and recently gained my chainsaw cross-cutting and maintenance licence. During my time with my employer I have also gained experience in hedge-laying, fencing, shrub clearance, tree-planting and also running a team of volunteers. Not only have I been able to gain these skills I have also had the opportunity to work with a number of conservation organisations like the Wildlife Trust, Greensand Trust and also Natural England, which is something I have really enjoyed. Whilst working with these organisations I have been able to learn about what they are doing and why as well as learning about different aspects of habitat management.

I spend one day a week in college where I get to learn about legislation in the land-based industry, how to maintain good working practices, the theoretical side of what we have been doing at work as well as some practical lessons in using relevant machinery and how to maintain it. The combination of the training I have received by the college and the experience working with my employer has resulted in me becoming more employable and given me the opportunity to progress further in the conservation industry."

» Scott and Luke at Innovation On-Site

Industry: Construction
Apprentices: Scott Grummitt and Luke Hewett
Apprenticeship: Carpentry Apprenticeship Level 2

Scott had recently completed a full-time Level 3 course in Animal Management at Shuttleworth College when he started to think about a new future career direction.

“Although I really enjoyed the course, I didn’t see myself having a career in animal care,” said Scott.

“I didn’t have any formal experience of carpentry, but it’s always been a hobby of mine to spend time out in the garage at home making stuff.”

Scott found the apprenticeship opportunity with local company Innovation On-Site on the Bedford College website. He put his CV together, applied and was soon interviewed and offered the job.

Just a couple of weeks into his new role, Scott said: “I’ve not started any site work yet, but I’ve been working in a timber factory making insulation boards, which we’ll take straight on site and put into timber frames for new houses.

“I study in College for two weeks at a time on block release. We learn all types of joinery and woodwork; it’s very practical and our tutor looks for perfection. It’s a really nice environment and we’re able to have a laugh too.”

Scott would like to gain his CSCS card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) to become a qualified, skilled carpenter and perhaps one day start his own company.

Luke had worked for a construction company while he was studying at sixth form and says he couldn’t see himself doing anything else as a career. After finishing sixth form he worked full-time in the industry for about six months before deciding he wanted to get a formal qualification.

“I saw a job advertised with Innovation On-Site and applied. I had my interview in August and started in September,” said Luke.

I didn’t find sixth form as structured as I do this apprenticeship; there was a lot of coursework whereas here you are learning exactly what you need to do for your job.

“I enjoy the practical and theory work. We do quite a bit of joinery in College and then more site carpentry at work, which is mostly constructing timber frames on site. The tutors at College supervise you to get your work done and it’s a very independent environment.”

Luke is now looking forward to moving on to different aspects of carpentry in the workplace in order to boost his portfolio and fulfil the qualification requirements. “I can ask my employer to focus on different things and they’ll always help you do what you need to do,” explains Luke.

“If I feel like I need more training at the end of the Level 2 qualification then I will stay with the company and complete the Level 3 programme. Eventually I want to go out and work for myself.”

» Holly at Maydencroft

Industry:  Environmental
Apprentice:  Holly Grant, Agriculture Higher Apprentice

Holly Grant Apprenticeship Higher Apprentice Maydencroft

After studying an Advanced Level course in Agriculture, Holly was initially planning to go on to university. Instead, she applied for a degree-level apprenticeship vacancy at Maydencroft – a Hertfordshire-based environmental consulting and contracting company. The new Higher Apprenticeship programme in Agriculture offered by Shuttleworth College has a more scientific approach and develops higher level management skills.

Working as an Apprentice Stockperson in the farming division, Holly’s job role involves all aspects of livestock husbandry including feeding and checking over their herds of Longhorn cattle and managing a range of livestock activities. The livestock are grazed throughout Hertfordshire both on Maydencroft farmland and as part of grazing conservation for a wide variety of clients.

“My role at Maydencroft is quite different because I’ve previously worked on a dairy farm, so working with the Longhorn cattle is a new experience for me.  The role is also very varied because the company is made up of different divisions, so you are able to experience other areas such as arboriculture and ecology.”

Holly attends College one afternoon per week. “The apprenticeship means that you are constantly putting what you learn at College into practice – you are not just learning from a book.” I enjoy coming into College to see other students and we went on two trips during the first term; to Smithfield Festival and to a pig farm in Baldock.”

With a Level 4 qualification as well as plenty of work experience under her belt, Holly would eventually like to work in dairy and livestock nutrition. 

» Molly - Capello Hair Design

Industry:  Hairdressing
Apprentice: Molly, Hairdressing Level 3 Apprentice 

Molly Capello"I have found Bedford College a friendly helpful environment, especially my assessor Nicky who helped me find a job as my old salon I worked in wasn’t the right place for me. She reached out to me straight away to tell me to contact Capello Hair Design where I have now come to enjoy hairdressing a lot more than I could ever imagine.

I found an apprenticeship the best way forward to gain my qualification as I can learn and earn whilst getting a lot more hands on experience in a real life working salon rather than full time college.

Adding to that I receive in house training weekly in the salon and observe different stylists using different methods."

» Mollie at PuddleDuck Nurseries

Industry: Care
Apprentice: Mollie Radford
Apprenticeship: Childcare Apprenticeship Level 3

Mollie has worked at PuddleDuck Nursery in Bedford for just over a year. She joined as a Level 2 apprentice straight from school and is now a few months into her Level 3 programme, which will take two years to complete. Her time is split between working four days at PuddleDucks and spending one day a week in College.

“I knew I wanted to study Childcare when I left school because I’ve always enjoyed working with children and I prefer practical work. I’m best placed with younger children because I like helping them to learn their first skills. It’s been really nice to see how the children have developed over the year I’ve been here.

“I found this placement at PuddleDucks through Bedford College who interviewed me in the first instance to make sure it was the right role for me.”

Mollie’s one day a week in College is coursework-based and focuses on the theory of Childcare, which she can apply to her work at PuddleDucks. As her fellow students are all working in different childcare environments, she can also swap ideas and the sessions are always very interactive.

“I’ve learnt about food hygiene, for example, which has really helped when we serve the food to the children at snack and mealtimes.”

How does Mollie compare completing an apprenticeship to being at school?

“You can go at your own pace and have the support of both the tutors at College, who are very understanding and helpful, and your employer and colleagues at work, plus in my case, my mentor Nicky.”

“I definitely want to stay here after the Level 3 and continue my training, hopefully to a Level 5 qualification. I’d like to get to a managerial role in the industry.”

» Leah at Split Enz

Industry:  Hairdressing
Apprentice:  Leah Groom, Hairdressing Apprentice

Split Enz

Leah knew she was interested in becoming a hairdresser and her first step was attending Bedford College’s open day.  She said: “To be honest, I didn’t even know you could be an apprentice in this area, it was only when I was at the College’s open event that I found out about them.”  

Staff at Bedford College gave Leah a list of local hairdressers who were offering Apprenticeships and Leah visited each of the salons and handed in her CV.  The owner of Split Enz in Bedford, invited Leah for an interview which went well.  She then went along for two trial days. Leah said: “It was really busy when I went in for my first trial day and, (because it was my first time working in a salon), it was quite hectic, but luckily my boss asked me to come in for another trial the next day and this time I knew exactly what to expect so it went really well.”

Leah has been particularly impressed with all the support she has received on her Apprenticeship, both at work in the salon and from the College. She said: “My Assessor, Learning Advisor and Tutor have all been great – they’re so good at what they do.  At the start of the Apprenticeship I was finding it very hard to adjust to the workplace, after leaving school, but they really helped and supported me through it.  They knew I could do it and it did all turn out fine.”

Leah added: “An Apprenticeship is completely different to school.  With the type of work I do, you are on your feet all day and you have to deal with the general public.  You have to learn skills like customer service as well as hairdressing techniques. Overall, I have really enjoyed it and it’s gone really quickly. I’m so glad I’ve done it this way because, as an apprentice, I’m learning in two different environments, in the salon and at College.  There’s a lot more variety and it’s benefited me so much.”

» Talisha, Angelo and Shona at The Bedford College Group

Industry: Business / Governance
Apprentices: Talisha Burgh, Angelo Moscaritolo and Shona Gillies
Apprenticeship: Governance Administration / Business Administration

Talisha completed a one year Health & Social Care course at Bedford College after her A-Levels in order to gain the UCAS points for entry on to a Psychology degree programme at Greenwich University. After graduating from Greenwich, Talisha was offered a role back at the College as a Business Administration Apprentice, working within the governance department.

I knew I needed to gain some work-based experience as a post-graduate in order to widen the opportunities available to me. When the College called me about post-grad apprenticeship options I decided to give it a go.

“I’m using the skills I have gained from my degree everyday, from research to communication. I enjoy the administration side, which includes everything from from filing to data protection.

Talisha has work set by her course tutor every couple of weeks, which might be in the form of a presentation or piece of coursework. There are no standard ‘lessons’ as part of the post-grad apprenticeship but all of her work counts towards her final qualification. 

“It’s been hard work, especially when the workload increases around application and result times, but it’s a very friendly team and I enjoy the day-to-day structure.”

The apprenticeship, alongside her degree, is standing Talisha in good stead for a future career in the Civil Service.

Angelo was studying on the full-time Level 2 Business study programme at the College when he was introduced to the apprenticeships recruitment team.

I’d been interested in what apprenticeships had to offer and the team here took me through the recruitment process,” says Angelo. “I got a job in the Sales department and am now two months into the Level 3 programme as an apprentice.”

“It’s a big step up from Level 2 but being employed and working alongside colleagues makes a real difference. I study one day a month in College, which is mostly theory-based work, but I love being in the working environment.”

Angelo’s daily tasks include enrolling students on to apprenticeships and being their first point of contact, providing course information and taking payments.

“It’s helpful having my Training Coordinator on hand to help. They observe me in my work and deliver the theory lessons as well. It’s good to get together with other apprentices in lessons and see what they do in their roles. Some work at the council, some at schools; we’re all in different industries.

Angelo is hoping to progress in his role at the College and eventually become a Business Development Manager. No doubt he’ll be taking inspiration from his own Manager, Paige, who also started out at the College as an apprentice.

Shona is a Level 2 Customer Service apprentice. After finishing her GCSEs, Shona worked in retail for a few years before deciding it was time to get back into education. She knew an apprenticeship would give her both work experience and the opportunity to gain further qualifications.

“I felt The Bedford College Group offered the best choice of apprenticeships and Customer Service really stood out for me because I always enjoyed working with the public during my time in retail,” said Shona.

“I spend one day a week on my course where we cover the theory side including interesting policies and regulations. On the other days I work full-time interacting with customers and students.”

Shona’s assessor observes her in her workplace every six weeks and they or her manager are always on hand to help with anything she may need.

“This apprenticeship has really helped with my confidence because I have been given lots of support and feel a part of the team. I’m looking forward to continuing on to Level 3 qualification and would definitely recommend apprenticeships to others.”


» Joshua at Urbanite Hair

Industry: Hairdressing
Apprentice: Joshua Shorten
Apprenticeship: Hairdressing Apprenticeship Level 2

Joshua started on an apprenticeship after finishing school. Having worked for Maria at Urbanite Hair for a year beforehand, Joshua was going to enrol on to the full-time College course, but was offered an apprenticeship by Maria instead. 

“I’ve always known I wanted a career in hairdressing. I enjoy the practical learning but also being with clients; that’s the most rewarding part for me because I’m a people person.

“I spend one day a week in College and we cover everything from colouring and cutting to styling and perming. My favourite aspect is colouring and blow drying because you can make a real difference and I find it therapeutic.

“My confidence has grown so much working with clients and I am trained by the best team.”

However, it’s not just the practical skills and confidence-boosting support team that Joshua benefits from on the apprenticeship.

“Of course you also earn your own money, which means you have to get good at budgeting to pay your bills. Apprenticeships give you all-round growth; people skills and life skills.”

So what are Joshua’s future plans?

“I want to work here at Urbanite for a good while and expand my own training, particularly through some independent colour courses with companies such as Wella. At some point I’d like to open my own salon, maybe in London.”

» Harry, Thomas and George at Vic’s Plumbing & Heating

Industry: Plumbing & Heating
Apprentices: Harry Timbrell, Thomas Gleeson-Smith and George Garside
Apprenticeship: Plumbing / Gas Apprenticeship

Harry had previously completed a part-time Level 2 Plumbing course before taking a couple of years out of education to work in the industry. He met his now employer Vic, of Vic’s Plumbing & Heating, by chance at a plumbing merchant.

“Vic asked me if I wanted a job and has taken me under his wing,” said Harry. “I knew I wanted to do practical work, nothing office-based, and so this seemed like a great opportunity.”

“I like going to College and learning a new skill. It’s good fun and the tutors will always help you if you have any problems.”

Harry’s experience so far as an apprentice has encouraged him to continue to build upon his current qualifications.

“I’ll look into a qualification in Oil once I’ve finished and then continue to study for more. I definitely want a career in gas and plumbing.

“I’d recommend apprenticeships; they’re a good way to build up a network while you are learning.”

Last year Thomas was completing a Level 1 Multi-Trade qualification, alongside one day a week of work experience with a local Plumber. When the summer holidays came around, Thomas went to work for an electrical company, but later found out about a local plumbing company who the College later put him in touch with.

Just two weeks into his new role with Vic’s Plumbing & Heating, Thomas said: “I’m really enjoying it. I’ve started on pipework, as well as fitting toilet frames and valves.

“I spend one day a week in College at the Plumbing & Gas Centre in Kempston where my tutor Richard is really helpful.

“Then when I’m back at work I enjoy having a schedule and getting the work done.”

Thomas plans to move on to the Level 3 qualification next and hopes to work for Vic’s company for some time, as he builds up his experience. His ultimate ambition is to start his own plumbing company.

When George finished school he knew he wanted to learn a trade; either plumbing or electric. He chose plumbing and enrolled on to the full-time Level 2 study programme at Bedford College. Towards the end of the qualification, his tutors recommended George for a Level 3 apprenticeship with local company, Vic’s Plumbing & Heating.

“I prefer the apprenticeship to studying full-time in College,” said George. “In College the tutors teach you how to do things, and they’re very good as they have all worked as plumbers in the past, but you learn a lot quicker on the job because you are faced with real life situations each day.”

Vic’s company take on all sorts of domestic work from new builds to complete renovations and George really enjoys being part of a team.

“It’s preparing me to one day be able to work for myself,” he said. “After the Level 3 I’m planning to train for some additional Gas modules including Gas Cookers and Appliances, while continuing with the company.”

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