A West Cheshire employer is encouraging young people to look at apprenticeship schemes to boost their future career chances.
Apprentices train across a range of leisure related jobs or specialise in a specific role.
Ash Hancock, 19, from Rudheath, joined the Brio team at Northwich Memorial Court last August.
He said: “I’ve worked in different roles across the business from being on the reception desk to training as a lifeguard. I’ve also worked on events when we have performances at the centre and in the food court – preparing and serving food. I love the variety and different experience I’m getting.”
Ash left Rudheath High School to study a BTEC qualification in Sports Performance and Excellence.
Most of his friends went to university but he decided full time study wasn’t for him.
He added: “I’m someone who likes to get on and do things, so my apprenticeship allows me to stay busy while still learning. Everyone at Brio has been great. You don’t know anything when you first start but all you need to do is ask questions and people are more than happy to help.”
His is a year-long apprenticeship and he’s hoping that the experience he’s gaining will open up longer term progression within the company.
“I’d love to be a duty manager at one of the centres in the future” he added.
Brio Leisure managing director Elly McFahn encouraged other local employers to consider the apprenticeship programme.
She said: “Our apprentice scheme is designed to enable career pathways in a wide array of areas. We are very pleased with the success so far and hope our apprentices will inspire other young people to achieve the same as them.
“Additionally we love having a balanced workforce in terms of age as we have customers from all walks of life, and it’s great to be able to interact with people you can relate to.”
Apprenticeships combine on-the- job training with study and learning, meaning you ‘earn while you learn’ by working alongside experienced staff.
It can take between one and four years to complete an apprenticeship.
Brio offers different types of apprenticeships, from leisure attendants, sports attendants and catering to roles in finance, human resources and marketing.
Marketing apprentice Heather Hughes always knew she’d prefer a workplace environment to university life.
The 21-year- old from Hoole, Chester, successfully passed her A levels at Christleton High School but decided it was more important to gain work experience if she was to achieve her goal of working in the media and marketing industry.
But she also found that getting that all important first break wasn’t as easy as she’d imagined.
“All of the jobs that interested me wanted applicants with some work experience. I’d studied sociology, politics, media studies and travel and tourism at A level but I wanted a job that was related to the media in someway,” she said.
“I knew I didn’t want to go to university though, as a lot of my friends had been and then dropped out,” she added.
Heather took a bar job in Chester but after two years decided she had the people skills and experience to get a foot on to her chosen career ladder.
“I saw the role as an apprentice with Brio Leisure in their marketing team. I was delighted to be offered the position and loved the environment. Everyone was very friendly and since I joined nearly a year ago I’ve picked up loads of new skills in marketing, advertising and promotion planning. I interact with people in person, over the telephone and through social media,” she said.
Based at Brio’s Northgate Arena the former gymnast is also able to take advantage of the exercise and leisure facilities as part of her employment package.
“I love going to the gym at Northgate before work as it gets me ready for the day ahead,” she added.
Heather’s working her way through a BTEC level 3 in Principles of Marketing as well as an NVQ level 3 Marketing Diploma, and expects to complete both of these within the year and is already in discussion with Brio regarding more long term opportunities within the marketing team after she completes her apprentice programme.
To find out more about apprenticeships and vacancies at Brio Leisure visit www.brioleisure.org/careers.