Learn and earn on an an apprenticeship with support from Sheffield training academy The Source
Shops are vital for everyone – shoppers and staff alike. For some, they provide their first steps in to the world of work through apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships provide young people who perhaps do not want to stay in mainstream education with a valuable opportunity to begin their career – and study for qualifications at the same time – while doing their chosen job, and that is why, as part of the Sheffield City Centre Retail Awards, we have decided to shine a light on their importance.
Jessica Heppleston was just 16-years-old when she began her apprenticeship in a electrical wholesalers, and went on to win an award for her performance.
Jessica, now aged 19, won Retail Week's Apprentice of the Year at their Rising Star Awards ceremony.
Her apprenticeship in Trade Business Services Level 2 was delivered by The Source Skills Academy, Sheffield, on behalf of the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA), a membership organisation representing the UK’s electrical wholesalers and EDA Apprenticeships Plus, who manage the EDA’s apprenticeship programme.
Jessica had received good GCSE results but decided against college as she wanted to continue her learning but did not want to be sat at a desk.
She said: “Lots of people tried to persuade me to stay on at school, or go into a job that wasn’t in a male dominated environment - including my dad, who owns a building company. But I loved my work, the atmosphere and the banter with customers.
“My colleagues took me under their wing from the start, and though there were often things customers asked for that I didn’t have a clue about, I always knew what they are the second time someone asked.”
Jessica, who is still working in the electrical industry, said she would recommend doing an apprenticeship to anybody.
She said: “Doing an apprenticeship meant I learned as I earned, thanks to the support and encouragement I get from The Source.
“I’d encourage any girl to take up an apprenticeship in this industry.”
Dianne Wainwright, Head of Operations at The Source, said: "Jessica is truly a great example of what young people can achieve through an apprenticeship. We couldn’t be more proud of what she has achieved.”
The Source are sponsoring the Apprentice of the Year award at the Sheffield City Centre Retail Awards.
During the last decade, The Source has delivered training and apprenticeships to over 4,200 learners across the Sheffield City Region.
The Source is a recognised National Skills Academy for Retail training and development centre set up in 2003. 2003. It offers a range of services designed to support businesses, including government funded work based training in customer service, hospitality and retailing.