IN celebration of National Apprenticeship Week last week, seven Cirencester College apprentices shared their experiences working in businesses in and around Cirencester.

The Standard spoke to apprentices from CIA Fire and Security in Cirencester, Derive Logic Limited in Poulton, Sentinel Systems in Kemble, Wood McKeever Agency in Malmesbury and Cirencester Friendly Society.

Apprentices Hannah Creed, 24, and Samantha Lipscombe, 21, both of who are studying Customer Service at the college, talked about their experience at CIA Fire and Security.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

(Samantha Lipscombe,back, and Hannah Creed, Apprentices at CIA Fire and Security in Cirencester)

Hannah, who is just finishing her two years at the company, said: “I chose to apply for an apprenticeship because I wanted to develop my skills and knowledge. This gave me an opportunity to retake my maths and English qualification.

“An apprenticeship was a good choice for me as I can earn money while gaining qualifications.

“My hopes within the next two to three years is to develop further at CIA Fire and Security.”

Samantha has been with the company for 15 months. She said: “I wanted to get out of my part-time job but I didn’t feel confident enough going straight into a full-time position as I didn’t feel like I had the ability, knowledge or experience I would need in a workplace.

“For me, an apprenticeship was a great option as I could learn as I worked, helping me improve my confidence.

“I enjoy being able to learn as I work, knowing that I am improving my skills in the workplace.

“I hope to stay at CIA Fire and Security and gain more skills and knowledge.”

Chris Rule, 20, and Aidan Kielty, 19, apprentices at Derive Logic Ltd in Poulton, began working at the company last summer and will be finishing this summer.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

(Aidan Kielty and Chris Rule, apprentices at Derive Logic Limited in Poulton)

Finance apprentice Aiden, who deals with expenses and invoicing, entered the programme after finishing his A-levels.

The accountancy student said: “I’ve come a long way from when I first started because I had no previous experience.

“Communication has been a big thing for me, not being worried to ask questions and sound stupid. And organisational skills. If I had more than one task, I would prioritise the tasks to make sure I do them accurately. When I first started, I tried too hard to do it all at once.

“I wanted to go in with a job I could learn and earn at the same time rather than go into a full-time job with no experience about what is happening.”

Chris studies business administration and works within the company’s project team, helping manage clients and customers. His job requires a lot of work on spreadsheets and Word documents.

He said: “I learned a lot with spreadsheets and the formulas, as well as Word and presentation skills. I also learned a lot of business terminology, how a business develops, how it is structured and how it works.”

Chris hopes to find a job in sales after his apprenticeship ends. He said: “I was previously part of the sales team here. I like the idea of getting out, seeing customers or partners and being proactive.”

Derive Logic Ltd currently employs three workers who were previously part of Cirencester College’s apprenticeship programme.

Sentinel Systems, based in Kemble, has taken on marketing apprentice Jamie Bonthron, 26.

Jamie works as a sales support and marketing assistant, which involves liaising with clients in terms of bookings and installations, advertising and press relations.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

(Jamie Bonthron, apprentice at Sentinel Systems, Kemble Enterprise Park)

Before the apprenticeship, he worked as an administrator at an accident repair centre.

He said: “I’ve learned a massive amount, it has been a really good opportunity for me. There’s the theory aspect and the applied side. It has opened my eyes to a side of business. I like the analysis between the effects of marketing and the impact on sales.”

Sam Goodfield, 17, is another apprentice working at Wood McKeever Agency and studying creative and digital media at Cirencester College.

His job at the company involves designing creative marketing material, press relations and advertising.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

(Sam Goodfield, Apprentice at Wood McKeever Agency in Malmesbury)

He said: “I’ve always been more of a hands-on person than an academic person. I’ve learned quite a lot of web development and design work. I use lots of software like WordPress, Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.”

Esther Hutton, 27, was an employee at Cirencester Friendly Society before taking on Cirencester College’s apprenticeship programme.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

(Esther Hutton, apprentice at Cirencester Friendly Society)

Esther, an application handler who has just started her studies in financial services administrator, said: “I was going to do an NVQ but we thought it would be worthwhile to do the apprenticeship because it is more tailored to the job.

“Cirencester Friendly are really keen on getting people to do qualifications.

“I think it will be really helpful and will give me an understanding of the financial side.”