Being an apprentice at one of the UK's leading theme parks has to be the ultimate job for thrill-seekers, so when East Berkshire College students Nickie Bancroft and Callum Hodge-Fleming were hired by LEGOLAND Windsor they couldn't believe their luck.
Callum (20, from Slough) and Nickie (from Bracknell), who have just completed the first year of an electrical apprenticeship at the theme park, have found combining studying at college with full-time work the perfect way to build their careers.
The duo spend one day a week at the College's Langley Campus and the rest on the job learning everything from how the rides work to keeping the offices in good electrical working order.
"Since I was young, I've always wanted to work in a theme park. I stayed on at school to do my A Levels but I knew university wasn't for me," says Callum. "I decided to do an apprenticeship, so that I could learn a trade and get paid. It really helps to put what you learn in the classroom into practice at work. It inspires you to work harder at College because you realise the importance of what you are being taught."
"My apprenticeship has given me an excellent start. I love working at the park and when I finish the course, I will not only be qualified but I will also have four years of experience."
Nickie agrees: "Being able to earn money to support myself and get qualified is great. The College helped me find and apply for my apprenticeship. I feel very lucky to be working in a theme park. It's not like any other job. No two days are ever the same!"
Apprenticeships are also a valuable way for employers to develop their workforce according to Kieran Maher, Maintenance Director at LEGOLAND Windsor. "LEGOLAND is constantly growing, so training is paramount to obtain the calibre of engineers we need. It can be a challenge to recruit the right people because the park is a unique working environment. Apprenticeships allow us to produce home-grown talent, who really understand the systems and culture of the park."
"When we approached the College about an apprenticeship scheme, we were extremely impressed with their facilities and service. They certainly helped us find the right apprentices in Nickie and Callum. We have been delighted with their progress, and they have become a valuable addition to our team here."
East Berkshire College trains hundreds of apprentices every year, in subjects from engineering to hairdressing, and helps businesses recruit apprentices.
As well as the more traditional trade-based apprenticeships, the College now offers a range of new apprenticeships in areas such as IT, Business Administration, Accounting and Customer Service. A range of new higher apprenticeships (Level 4) are also available.
For further information on East Berkshire College and its extensive range of over 600 courses including apprenticeships call 0845 373 2500.
Local businesses interested in taking on an apprentice, please contact East Berkshire College on 01753 443855.