Meet our Apprentices

» Josh at Elma Electronics UK Ltd.

Industry: Engineering
Apprentice: Josh Ludovico
Apprenticeship: Engineering Apprentice  

Josh has always preferred learning in a hands-on way rather than in the classroom environment. While engineering was new to him when he left school, it is something that runs in the family.

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Bedford College put Josh in touch with Elma and he now works there three days a week, while spending one day at the Brunel Road campus doing practical work and one day at the main College campus focuses on theory. At work, Josh designs the metal work for the enclosures to customers’ individual specifications.

“I’ve always liked making something and seeing it come to life, so engineering was an obvious choice for me.

“I love it at Elma because I get given a project to work on and can develop my own ideas, but also collaborate with the wider team and ask the electrical team, for example, if something I’m designing makes sense to them.”

How has an apprenticeship compared to school in reality?

“I really like the more mature environment. It’s nice that there are no younger kids running around so you can focus on what you want to do and get the job done. It slowly introduces you to a working environment.

“At College the tutors all teach with passion and are very knowledgeable about the industry. I can also talk to the other students in my class about the different companies and industries they work in; one works in food processing, for example, so it’s really interesting to hear about everyone’s different experiences.”

Josh has enjoyed “every second” of the apprenticeship so far and hopes to stay with Elma for many years to come.

To find out more about how Apprenticeships can help your organisation face future challenges, please telephone 01234 291747 or email training@bedford.ac.uk  

» Holly - Environmental Conservation Level 2

Industry:  Landbased
Apprentice: Holly Bilcock, Environmental Conservation 

Holly Bilcock

"I chose to do my apprenticeship in Environmental conservation because I wanted to gain practical skills in the land-based industry. I had recently graduated from university with a degree in Biological Sciences specialising in Ecology. From this I wanted to work as a Ranger or a Warden but lacked any practical skills for these jobs. I saw an opportunity advertised by the college for a work based apprenticeship where I would be able to gain the experience I needed, get relevant qualifications and licenses and also learn about legislation and applied theory while at the same time being able to earn money.

Since starting the apprenticeship, I have already gained many valuable skills. I have become qualified in brush-cutting and strimming, gained my pesticide licences, become certified in the use of woodchippers and recently gained my chainsaw cross-cutting and maintenance licence. During my time with my employer I have also gained experience in hedge-laying, fencing, shrub clearance, tree-planting and also running a team of volunteers. Not only have I been able to gain these skills I have also had the opportunity to work with a number of conservation organisations like the Wildlife Trust, Greensand Trust and also Natural England, which is something I have really enjoyed. Whilst working with these organisations I have been able to learn about what they are doing and why as well as learning about different aspects of habitat management.

I spend one day a week in college where I get to learn about legislation in the land-based industry, how to maintain good working practices, the theoretical side of what we have been doing at work as well as some practical lessons in using relevant machinery and how to maintain it. The combination of the training I have received by the college and the experience working with my employer has resulted in me becoming more employable and given me the opportunity to progress further in the conservation industry."

» Jodie at Biddenham International School & Sports College

Industry: Business
Apprentice: Jodie Kemp
Apprenticeship: Business Admin Apprenticeship Level 3 

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Jodie had been working as a dance teacher but always knew she wanted to get back into studying. She’d considered university but didn’t want to commit to the high costs. Having completed an apprenticeship in Early Years when she was 16, Jodie decided to look again at apprenticeships and found a Business Admin role on the Bedford College website. It was something that would add another string to her bow, as she also offers gel nail services.

“I applied through the College website and had a mock interview with the team before going for my interview at Biddenham,” explained Jodie.

“I wanted to work in a school because I believe education is important and I enjoy learning about the support teams behind the school that people don’t see.”

Jodie works in Data with her manager, Colleen and her daily tasks include assessment and exam preparation, entering mark sheets, changing students timetables and much more.

“My job role is quite full on and so I really enjoy the one day a month in College, because it reminds me that I am an apprentice and still studying. If you just apply for a job, you don’t tend to learn the ins and outs of everything in the company or business, and so don’t see the wider picture.

“In College it’s good to gain different views from my fellow students and the work is always very relevant because a few of us work in the education sector.”

Jodie would like to stay at Biddenham after her apprenticeship if a full-time role comes up and then continue studying further to progress up through the levels.

To find out more about how Apprenticeships can help your organisation face future challenges, please telephone 01234 291747 or email training@bedford.ac.uk  

» Joshua at Urbanite Hair

Industry: Hairdressing
Apprentice: Joshua Shorten
Apprenticeship: Hairdressing Apprenticeship Level 2  

Joshua started on an apprenticeship after finishing school. Having worked for Maria at Urbanite Hair for a year beforehand, Joshua was going to enrol on to the full-time College course, but was offered an apprenticeship by Maria instead. 

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“I’ve always known I wanted a career in hairdressing. I enjoy the practical learning but also being with clients; that’s the most rewarding part for me because I’m a people person.

“I spend one day a week in College and we cover everything from colouring and cutting to styling and perming. My favourite aspect is colouring and blow drying because you can make a real difference and I find it therapeutic.

“My confidence has grown so much working with clients and I am trained by the best team.”

However, it’s not just the practical skills and confidence-boosting support team that Joshua benefits from on the apprenticeship.

“Of course you also earn your own money, which means you have to get good at budgeting to pay your bills. Apprenticeships give you all-round growth; people skills and life skills.”

So what are Joshua’s future plans?

“I want to work here at Urbanite for a good while and expand my own training, particularly through some independent colour courses with companies such as Wella. At some point I’d like to open my own salon, maybe in London.”

To find out more about how Apprenticeships can help your organisation face future challenges, please telephone 01234 291747 or email training@bedford.ac.uk  

» Mollie at Puddleduck Nurseries

Industry: Care 
Apprentice: Mollie Radford
Apprenticeship: Level 3 Childcare Apprenticeship

Mollie has worked at PuddleDuck Nursery in Bedford for just over a year. She joined as a Level 2 apprentice straight from school and is now a few months into her Level 3 programme, which will take two years to complete. Her time is split between working four days at PuddleDucks and spending one day a week in College.

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“I knew I wanted to study Childcare when I left school because I’ve always enjoyed working with children and I prefer practical work. I’m best placed with younger children because I like helping them to learn their first skills. It’s been really nice to see how the children have developed over the year I’ve been here.

“I found this placement at PuddleDucks through Bedford College who interviewed me in the first instance to make sure it was the right role for me.”

Mollie’s one day a week in College is coursework-based and focuses on the theory of Childcare, which she can apply to her work at PuddleDucks. As her fellow students are all working in different childcare environments, she can also swap ideas and the sessions are always very interactive.

“I’ve learnt about food hygiene, for example, which has really helped when we serve the food to the children at snack and mealtimes.”

How does Mollie compare completing an apprenticeship to being at school?

“You can go at your own pace and have the support of both the tutors at College, who are very understanding and helpful, and your employer and colleagues at work, plus in my case, my mentor Nicky.”

“I definitely want to stay here after the Level 3 and continue my training, hopefully to a Level 5 qualification. I’d like to get to a managerial role in the industry.”

To find out more about how Apprenticeships can help your organisation face future challenges, please telephone 01234 291747 or email training@bedford.ac.uk  

» Molly - Capello Hair Design

Industry:  Hairdressing
Apprentice: Molly, Hairdressing Level 3 Apprentice 

Molly Capello"I have found Bedford College a friendly helpful environment, especially my assessor Nicky who helped me find a job as my old salon I worked in wasn’t the right place for me. She reached out to me straight away to tell me to contact Capello Hair Design where I have now come to enjoy hairdressing a lot more than I could ever imagine.

I found an apprenticeship the best way forward to gain my qualification as I can learn and earn whilst getting a lot more hands on experience in a real life working salon rather than full time college.

Adding to that I receive in house training weekly in the salon and observe different stylists using different methods."

» Scott and Luke at Innovation On-Site

Industry: Construction
Apprentice: Scott Grummitt and Luke Hewett
Apprenticeship: Carpentry Apprenticeship Level 2

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Scott had recently completed a full-time Level 3 course in Animal Management at Shuttleworth College when he started to think about a new future career direction.

“Although I really enjoyed the course, I didn’t see myself having a career in animal care,” said Scott.

“I didn’t have any formal experience of carpentry, but it’s always been a hobby of mine to spend time out in the garage at home making stuff.”

Scott found the apprenticeship opportunity with local company Innovation On-Site on the Bedford College website. He put his CV together, applied and was soon interviewed and offered the job.

Just a couple of weeks into his new role, Scott said: “I’ve not started any site work yet, but I’ve been working in a timber factory making insulation boards, which we’ll take straight on site and put into timber frames for new houses.

“I study in College for two weeks at a time on block release. We learn all types of joinery and woodwork; it’s very practical and our tutor looks for perfection. It’s a really nice environment and we’re able to have a laugh too.”

Scott would like to gain his CSCS card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) to become a qualified, skilled carpenter and perhaps one day start his own company.

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Luke had worked for a construction company while he was studying at sixth form and says he couldn’t see himself doing anything else as a career. After finishing sixth form he worked full-time in the industry for about six months before deciding he wanted to get a formal qualification.

“I saw a job advertised with Innovation On-Site and applied. I had my interview in August and started in September,” said Luke.

“I didn’t find sixth form as structured as I do this apprenticeship; there was a lot of coursework whereas here you are learning exactly what you need to do for your job.

“I enjoy the practical and theory work. We do quite a bit of joinery in College and then more site carpentry at work, which is mostly constructing timber frames on site. The tutors at College supervise you to get your work done and it’s a very independent environment.”

Luke is now looking forward to moving on to different aspects of carpentry in the workplace in order to boost his portfolio and fulfil the qualification requirements. “I can ask my employer to focus on different things and they’ll always help you do what you need to do,” explains Luke.

“If I feel like I need more training at the end of the Level 2 qualification then I will stay with the company and complete the Level 3 programme. Eventually I want to go out and work for myself.”

To find out more about how Apprenticeships can help your organisation face future challenges, please telephone 01234 291747 or email training@bedford.ac.uk  

» Harry, Thomas and George at Vic's Plumbing & Heating

Industry: Plumbing & Heating 
Apprentice: Harry Timbrell, Thomas Gleeson-Smith and George Garside
Apprenticeship: Plumbing / Gas Apprenticeship

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Harry had previously completed a part-time Level 2 Plumbing course before taking a couple of years out of education to work in the industry. He met his now employer Vic, of Vic’s Plumbing & Heating, by chance at a plumbing merchant.

“Vic asked me if I wanted a job and has taken me under his wing,” said Harry. “I knew I wanted to do practical work, nothing office-based, and so this seemed like a great opportunity.”

“I like going to College and learning a new skill. It’s good fun and the tutors will always help you if you have any problems.”

Harry’s experience so far as an apprentice has encouraged him to continue to build upon his current qualifications.

“I’ll look into a qualification in Oil once I’ve finished and then continue to study for more. I definitely want a career in gas and plumbing.

“I’d recommend apprenticeships; they’re a good way to build up a network while you are learning.”

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Last year Thomas was completing a Level 1 Multi-Trade qualification, alongside one day a week of work experience with a local Plumber. When the summer holidays came around, Thomas went to work for an electrical company, but later found out about a local plumbing company who the College later put him in touch with.

Just two weeks into his new role with Vic’s Plumbing & Heating, Thomas said: “I’m really enjoying it. I’ve started on pipework, as well as fitting toilet frames and valves.

“I spend one day a week in College at the Plumbing & Gas Centre in Kempston where my tutor Richard is really helpful.

“Then when I’m back at work I enjoy having a schedule and getting the work done.”

Thomas plans to move on to the Level 3 qualification next and hopes to work for Vic’s company for some time, as he builds up his experience. His ultimate ambition is to start his own plumbing company.

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When George finished school he knew he wanted to learn a trade; either plumbing or electric. He chose plumbing and enrolled on to the full-time Level 2 study programme at Bedford College. Towards the end of the qualification, his tutors recommended George for a Level 3 apprenticeship with local company, Vic’s Plumbing & Heating.

“I prefer the apprenticeship to studying full-time in College,” said George. “In College the tutors teach you how to do things, and they’re very good as they have all worked as plumbers in the past, but you learn a lot quicker on the job because you are faced with real life situations each day.”

Vic’s company take on all sorts of domestic work from new builds to complete renovations and George really enjoys being part of a team.

“It’s preparing me to one day be able to work for myself,” he said. “After the Level 3 I’m planning to train for some additional Gas modules including Gas Cookers and Appliances, while continuing with the company.”


To find out more about how Apprenticeships can help your organisation face future challenges, please telephone 01234 291747 or email training@bedford.ac.uk