Kath Carnes embodies what a great career advancement tool apprenticeships are having recently embarked on her third; a level 3 content creator apprenticeship, funded by her employer, Buxton & Leek College. 

Kath attended Leek High School where she stayed on at the sixth form studying A-levels in business and psychology. She knew she did not want to take the university route and was looking for an apprenticeship to forward her career. 

Kath said: “It was the deputy head who saw an opportunity at building equipment manufacturer Belle Engineering, based at Sheen. 

“Because I had A-levels I got on to the two-year higher business apprenticeship. There was no guarantee of a job at the end but with the experience I got a job straight after, at Falco who manufacture civic street furniture. 

“I worked across the business in contracting and logistics. Being a relatively small team, you had to be hands-on and I even passed my forklift drivers test so I could help with loading in the warehouse. 

“Whilst there I was enrolled onto a degree apprenticeship, studying a day a week at Staffordshire University for a BA in Business. Apart from the academic study I learned a lot from being with a really varied mix of fellow students who were came from all sectors of industry and commerce. The age range of students spanned from 20s to 60s proving that it is never too late to take an apprenticeship.” 

From there Kath moved in to contracting at Stoke-on-Trent City Council. She saw a contracting job at the newly formed Buxton & Leek College. She was successful in getting the job but not long after starting, the contracting department at the college was wound up. However, due to her experience, Kath was offered a job as apprenticeships co-ordinator. 

Buxton & Leek College offer a full menu of apprenticeships in engineering, construction, education, accountancy, business & customer service, hospitality & catering, hairdressing & beauty and wellbeing & holistic therapy. They also operate the Rolls Royce Nuclear Skills Academy based in Derby. 

Kath is now enrolled on her third apprenticeship, fully supported by her employer, level 3 content & creation apprenticeship through provider Apprentify. 

Kath said: “Digital marketing is key to our business model and the way in which we target our audience. We need to get our message right and the apprenticeship covers copywriting for website and print, social media, and video.  

“I feel very fortunate to have been presented with such amazing opportunities and I now have so many transferable skills, giving me plenty of career options. It is a real  privilege to have a job promoting apprenticeships and what I love about my current job is being able to pass on my experience and guide students and employees to apprenticeships which can have a transformative effect on their careers.”