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Case Study

Apprentice Case Study - Rhiannon Smith

Rhiannon is a laboratory & Associated Technical Activities Level 2 apprentice at Cirencester Deer Park School. Rhiannon started her apprenticeship in September 2016 and is progressing well.
 
Cirencester Deer Park School is a secondary school, which aims to give students the best education across all subjects as well as enriching their social opportunities.
 
Rhiannon is a science technician, this involves her supporting the teacher’s lessons by providing practical kits for science lessons. Rhiannon also makes up solutions, maintains pieces of equipment (such as microscopes), interacting with students, ensuring the health and safety of herself and others and cleaning the pieces of equipment when they return to the prep room. Rhiannon also adds “my role isn’t limited to these tasks; everyday can present new problems that challenge my thinking and skills.”
 
Rhiannon found the interview process quick and easy “I found out about the placement through my sister who attends Deer Park School. From there I went online and discovered all about SWAC. I applied for the position online, and then had a short telephone interview where we arranged a face to face meeting. Once I had met my Learner Account Manager, she agreed to put me forward for the position. I went for an interview with the school, subject to which, I found out I had got the job.”
 
Rhiannon explained why she chose the apprenticeship route “I’d always wanted to get into science, but I just couldn’t see myself at university, paying massive tuition fees, where I may not even have had a job in my field at the end. I assumed that I would have to spend the rest of my days doing odd jobs, before I found out that apprenticeships were an alternative to getting into the science field. So when I became aware of an apprentice science technician vacancy at my old school (which is in a lovely setting), I jumped at the chance to apply.”
 
Rhiannon is really enjoying her Apprenticeship “My work placement is amazing, I have had plenty of support from my colleagues and feel like I have come on in leaps and bounds since starting. I have also been given the opportunity from Deer Park to do extra courses which were not part of my apprenticeship course. My favourite aspect of the job is the consistent learning. I have the ability to really challenge and expand my knowledge, and whether it’s making up new solutions or learning how to fix an electronic balance, I am constantly gaining new skills.”
 
Rhiannon is keen to promote apprenticeships and SWAC to others “Absolutely, it was the best decision I have ever made. You can earn whilst learning, and it gives you the practical work experience that university simply can’t offer. The best bit is, you can still attend university if you want to, but you’ll have skills (and some money) that your peers simply won’t have.”
 
“The advantages of the courses can be amazing. You’ll be supported through every step and the experience you gain by just simply working gives you an edge in the job market, even if you decide on a different career.”