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Teesside Koi and Aquatics casts its net wide in search of young, talented apprentices

Before starting his Intermediate Apprenticeship in Customer Service with Teesside Koi and Aquatics in Stockton, Nathan was unemployed and had been out of work since he left college four years previously. He struggled to find a job and had no work-based qualifications.

Nathan was on a work programme with the Jobcentre and on placement with Teesside Koi and Aquatics before they took him on as a Customer Service Apprentice for 12 months.

Not only has Nathan achieved a Level 2 qualification in Customer Service, but he has also completed Level 1 Functional Skills Maths.

As well as hugely improving his confidence, Nathan has worked hard and developed work-based skills that employers’ desire. His apprenticeship has given him 12 months good, quality work experience that will support him to find new employment in the future. 

We asked Nathan about his experience as an apprentice at Teesside Koi and Aquatics, and this is what he said:

Tell me a little more about your previous education. What secondary school / college did you attend and what subjects did you take / enjoy?
I attended Sedgefield Community College Secondary School where I enjoyed subjects like ICT, English, and History. After leaving school, I went to Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. My favourite subjects were ICT, Media Studies, and English Literature.

What made you decide to do an apprenticeship and how did you find out about Profound Services / the company you work for?
I found out about Teesside Koi and Aquatics when I applied for a four-week work placement through the Jobcentre. While on work experience, I found out that the company was working with Profound Services and looking to hire an apprentice. I got in touch with Profound as soon as I could and applied for the customer service apprenticeship vacancy.

What appealed to you the most about the course e.g. a specific module or practical element?
The main thing that appealed to me was the qualification I would achieve on completion and the role that I would be undertaking as their apprentice.

What does your typical week look like? For example, how long do you spend working and how long do you study for?
My typical week involved working in the shop 4 out of 7 days, doing a total of 30 hours. The other days I spent doing research on my own accord to better myself within the business.

What support does Profound Services offer to help your training? Tell me a little more about your Training Assessor (TA)
My Training Assessor was Carrie Robinson, and she supported me throughout the entire apprenticeship, through good and bad times. I honestly can’t thank her enough.

What’s the most challenging element of your apprenticeship? What have you found the most enjoyable? What has been the most rewarding part of your career to date? The most challenging part of my apprenticeship was specific measurements and being able to identify quantities just by looking at them. This is something I struggled with having never worked with that sort of thing before. But the most enjoyable part of the apprenticeship was working with fish and learning about the whole aquatic industry. The entire year took me by storm, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the learning.

What piece of advice would you give to a young person looking for their first job? Would you recommend an apprenticeship with Profound Services?
I would recommend an apprenticeship with Profound Services to anyone. It is a fantastic company with really helpful tutors that will help you achieve anything you want to achieve.

Do you think it’s important for non-university routes like apprenticeships and school leaver programmes to be promoted to school leavers? Why?
I think they should definitely be promoted to school and college leavers, and even in some cases university graduates. Apprenticeships give the learners a chance to learn more about the industry they want to work in while providing an in-work experience that every employer looks for. On top of that, you get paid to learn! It really is a fantastic opportunity for anyone.

What do you hope to get out of completing an apprenticeship? What is your ultimate career goal?
My ultimate career goal is to become a tattoo artist. I know that it isn’t directly related to the qualification I have achieved, but I hope that my customer service skills will help me get work and achieve my dream.

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