Last week I received an email from a student to tell me that he was offered an apprenticeship and would be starting immediately.
The news was all the more satisfying, because I knew how determined and prepared the student was in making this moment happen.
I had a career session with this year 13 student earlier on in the year and he expressed a strong interest in pursuing a trade, most likely in the building and construction industry. At that time he had a goal to complete year 13 and transition into a trade at the end of the year.
About a month ago, the same student saw me again to discuss different trade options. I noticed he was starting to pop in regularly, so I pressed him on this… “so how are you finding school?”
He told me he was starting to get bored and demotivated. He felt ready to finish school and was yearning do something practical. I encouraged him to signal these intentions to the Senior Dean and the response was supportive and positive.
With a new goal to explore future opportunities, I asked him how he was going to find an apprenticeship. He said he looked online, but apart from that he didn’t seem to know.
I told him about the proactive ways of contacting employers and showed him how to search companies online (yes, Yellow Pages is still an incredibly useful resource!). Under my direction, he noted five building/carpentry companies of interest. We looked at each company and found details on the type of work they did. What emerged through conversation is that the student loved the idea of working on bespoke, classic houses. The attention to detail, the intricate designs, the sense of character.
I told him to filter his list further to focus on the companies that may specialise in that type of work. He found a few but felt unsure on how to connect with them.
We developed a script to help him introduce himself and organise a potential meeting with the employer (the aim was to request advice, not a job). We practiced a few mock phone calls to help him feel comfortable with his request.
After a few days doing further research, he came to my office and asked if he could contact one of the employers. This particular company dealt with the restoration of classic villas. I agreed and he made the phone call. Much to his surprise, the employer was very interested and asked the student to come and meet him in person on the weekend.
On that Sunday evening I received an email from the student to say he was offered an apprenticeship, to start immediately. He was more than happy to accept this role.
So just like that the student has commenced the next chapter of his exciting future!
The moral of this story?
Prepare, prepare, prepare. But also be prepared for the unexpected. The student succeeded because he had clear ideas on what he wanted to do, he took the time to research the industry, he prepared himself for meeting employers, he followed through and conducted himself in a respectful manner.
I wish him all the best and can’t wait to see what houses he completes in the years to come.