Amba is one of the longest serving Rocketeers here, and began her career through an apprenticeship. I spoke to her about her experience starting in this way and her thoughts and advice on apprenticeships in general.

When did you start your apprenticeship with Rocket, and how have things changed both work-wise and apprenticeship-wise since then?

I first started as work experience, being here during my free periods whilst I was doing A-levels. After being here for a while I started my Rocket Apprenticeship in July/August 2011 I believe- it’s been a looonggg time!

Reading my appraisals from 2012 till now…ha! I would say back then I was still as optimistic as I am now, however, I still had a lot to learn. Back then, I needed to overcome prioritising jobs and time management of those jobs as well as attention to detail. Now I would say I’m passionate about getting it all correct and I try my 100% best all the time. I’ve learnt a lot of short cuts, enhancing my skills with software and that’s just one way that enables me to better my time management.

I’m an advocate for other students learning through apprenticeships – it’s not tainted and unrealistic in what jobs you work on, you learn on the job which is the best way you can learn, and it allowed me to get ahead and gain more experience, which is especially useful now as I do a part time degree. My increased knowledge of the software and deadlines is a massive help.

When you started your apprenticeship, were you hoping to continue working here?

Yes and I have, and continuing learning has allowed me to know how to manage time and schedules, as well as bringing my techniques from work into my uni projects. Once finishing my degree; which I’m doing part time, I’m very likely to stay as Rocket is a great place to work.

What made you choose to do an apprenticeship?

I find that a lot of people think that uni is the only way forward, and by the age of 18 I realised that I didn’t enjoy A-levels nor school- I’m a very hands on person, I enjoy working.

I had a part time job from the age of 15 and I think by 18, I realised I was ready to work and did everything I could to get my apprenticeship. When I started at Rocket, the council didn’t really offer them and therefore I had to call places to ask about work experience and search for apprenticeship schemes. In my case, I began working for Rocket and going to Leicester College once a month. I think apprenticeships are the way forward, you learn whilst working.

How much did you learn on your apprenticeship?

I learnt about loads, from design tips to paper, inks, different processes of printing, health and safety and lots more. I obtained all the grades I needed, with most of my grades based upon the work I produced within Rocket.

Thinking on your own experience and working with an apprentice in the studio, Michael, what would you say are the benefits having an apprentice brings to an employer and workers?

It’s good to have Michael around; he’s refreshing and eager. He’s able to take on a lot of smaller jobs that take up a lot of time throughout the day, allowing others to do bigger more costly jobs if needed.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting an apprenticeship?

Know what you would like to do! Be sure of yourself! Be prepared for hard work! Hard work pays off for the future and if, after an apprenticeship, you want to go to uni, then the training will have put you in good stead to take on anything!

Apprenticeships are a little more commonplace now, with numbers growing each year- reaching a record 871,800 funded apprenticeships in 2014/15; but they still aren’t provided on a wide enough scale as a viable option for any young person looking to hone their skills in a practical working environment. We hope other companies will continue the trend of offering up traineeships and apprenticeships, and that students will continue to consider apprenticeships as a means of higher education and a great opportunity to get a good start in a career field.

We here at Rocket are proud to help nurture young talent and enthusiasm, and are thankful for the hard work of our apprentices.