Going to university can hold its attractions but a well-chosen apprenticeship offers a positive, rewarding and financially beneficial alternative path to career success, particularly when securing a degree - even one with first class honours - is no guarantee of success in a tough job market.
An apprenticeship lays the foundations for a start in the world of enterprise and business, providing a solid academic, technical and commercial grounding that will last the duration of a person’s working life.
One person to opt for this route is 19-year-old Emily Luff, the first female apprentice in aggregates logistics and a driver at CEMEX UK’s area logistics depot at Swinderby quarry, Lincoln.
Her apprenticeship, delivered through System Group, has enabled her to gain practical and relevant skills, valuable hands-on experience and training that allows her to drive and deliver 44 tonne bulk cement tankers as part of a 90-strong driver workforce at the cement plant.
She said: “The apprenticeship route has allowed me to learn a trade that provides a really good opportunity to build a long-term career.
“The apprenticeship scheme offered by CEMEX through System Group, which has been running for the last four years, is great, enabling me to also gain new skills while earning a proper wage.”
Now, as she looks to the future at one of the UK’s leading suppliers of building materials, she wants to encourage more young people to see a driving apprenticeship as a route to a skilled trade while also getting paid.
She is one of several to benefit from the training provided by System Group, which delivers apprenticeships to equip drivers with the skills to work for local and national transport and logistics operators such as CEMEX.
Barrie Flitton, logistics operations manager at CEMEX, which supplies aggregates, cement, ready-mixed concrete, concrete blocks and rail sleepers to the construction sector, said through apprenticeships, his company and System Group is playing a role in closing the skills gap.
“Emily’s success further endorses our focus on nurturing young talent and equipping them with the skills and confidence to meet the UK’s pressing need for trained drivers. Emily and our other apprentices are invaluable as we continue to grow and maintain our reputation for quality products and customer service.
“It’s great working with System Group, whose apprenticeship programme is designed to help us acquire skilled people who can make us even more efficient, productive and competitive.”