Apprenticeships can be a great route into a successful career. You'll come away with a great set of skills, work experience and a nationally recognised qualification that will give you a fantastic employment edge. But don't just take our word for it, read our student case studies below.

Carly Toal - The Works

Course: Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Administration

Job: Assistant marketing account executive, We Are The Works.

Carly, from Gateshead is powering her way up the career ladder after finishing her Advanced Apprenticeship with Gateshead College.

Eighteen year-old Carly Toal has been hired as assistant marketing account executive at County Durham creative agency The Works, after completing a Level 3 in Business Administration apprenticeship.

During her two year paid apprenticeship at Gateshead College, which she started after leaving Hebburn Comprehensive school at 16, Carly developed her administration skills as well as gaining valuable marketing experience. 

The role gave Carly the chance to develop her skills,  including writing marketing materials, updating the website, organising events and writing press releases.

Carly, 18, said; “The experience I gained from my apprenticeship ensured I was fully prepared for employment.  

 “Getting hands-on practical experience, whilst learning gives you a lot of great advantages, confidence, experience and it shows potential employers how capable you are of thriving in a working environment”

Carly combined work experience with classroom studies at Gateshead College on a regular basis before gaining her Business Administration qualification. 

Ian Oswold, Director at The Works said; “Carly impressed us from the interview stage as she was able to talk about the industry with great confidence and knowledge. 

She’s clearly a very capable youngster, equipped with the experience and skills needed to comfortably fit into a professional role.

“We also felt that Carly’s experience within a marketing role stood out over other potential candidates with university qualifications.”

Alex Fife - Nissan

Course: Trainee Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship

Job: Electronic Technician at Nissan Sunderland

Alex is on the road to career success after securing a job as an Electronic Technician with the UK’s most productive car plant, Nissan. 

Alex got his big chance when he enrolled on a five-year Trainee Maintenance Technician apprenticeship at Nissan, run by Gateshead College and NAC Group. 

Alex’s Apprenticeship combined classroom and practical skills, working towards a nationally recognised qualification whilst earning a competitive salary. His first year was spent in Gateshead College’s training centre and the remaining four years working in the Nissan plant with a day a week at college.

After his Apprenticeship came to an end Alex was offered a permanent position.

He said: “As a teenager, I always dreamed of a career in the engineering industry. I caught the bug from my dad who was a Vehicle Quality Engineer.” 

“I did well in practical subjects at school, I never really wanted to go to university but I knew I needed extra training to get my foot on the career ladder.”

“Apprenticeships give you the chance to study for qualifications that are valued by employers - and you earn a wage at the same time. I really would recommend them”.

Steve Pallas, training manager at Nissan, said: “Nissan produces more than one in three cars built in the UK and we need a strong team of maintenance technicians behind us to ensure that we maintain our record-breaking levels of performance.’’

“Gateshead College has been a vital partner in teaching our apprentices the skills they need, not only to make the grade at Nissan but to succeed in the job once they’ve completed their training.’’

Lauren Howell - Fine Cuts

Course: Apprenticeship in Hairdressing 

Job: Hairdressing Apprentice

Sixteen year-old Lauren Howells has joined Fine Cuts in Gateshead to apply her trade as a hairdresser.  

Lauren is working as part of a seven-strong team that includes two other apprentices from Gateshead College. 

Initially Lauren, from Windy Nook, will work towards an NVQ Level 1 in hairdressing with the opportunity to progress to levels 2 and 3 in her second year. After two years, she will be a fully qualified hairdresser. 

She joins a company that is a firm supporter of apprenticeships.  Fine Cuts has taken on more than 20 apprentices since it was launched by owner Vicky Crawford ten years ago, including several from Gateshead College. 

Vicky, who is originally from New Zealand, said: “I really value apprenticeships and I’m committed to developing the next generation of hairdressing talent. In recent years Gateshead College has produced a steady stream of outstanding young apprentices and Lauren is the latest one to benefit my business.

“We are a small business so it’s vital that everybody contributes in some way. I’m glad to say that Lauren has the skills, aptitudes and work ethic to forge a lengthy and successful career with us.”

Lauren says: 

“Gateshead College put me in touch with Fine Cuts and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far. The apprenticeship allows me to learn my trade while earning a wage; I’d recommend this form of training to other people of my age.”