Martin Hughes was forced to look for a new career when his health stopped him from doing a practical job he loved. A Customer Service Practitioner apprenticeship gave him the chance to retrain after more than 30 years working ‘on the tools’ in the building and maintenance team at Chesterfield Borough Council. He is now a confident member of the admin team in the same department, and is even training others.
Martin recently completed his apprenticeship and is now a valued member of the team. His knowledge of the practical side of property maintenance, along with his new administration and customer service skills make him a great asset to the team who work across 9 different departments.
He told us:
“When I was first faced with the challenge of changing my career it was really difficult, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to adjust to working in an office. At my age, I was also concerned about going back to college to learn new skills, so being able to learn at work was perfect for me.
I had never worked in an office before so the apprenticeship was a good way to develop my skills. I have had a lot of help from my colleagues and my tutor, Linsey. They have guided me through things and motivated me when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do certain tasks. It was a bit daunting at first when I found out how much I had to learn. Linsey really listened to me and supported me though. She would make sure I understood what was needed.”
“I hadn’t done any exams for so long before my apprenticeship so when I had to study for my maths & English I was really nervous. Linsey supported me by giving me different resources to use, and I put lots of work in at home too. In the end, I got through it all and passed. I am really pleased with myself now I have done it.”
“A few years ago I would never have thought I would be able to mentor another apprentice but that is what I am doing now. It is really good to work with her to build her confidence as she gets to know the job and how to deal with some of the issues we have to face day to day.”
“The last couple of years have shown me that with determination and support you can achieve anything you put your mind to. I have learnt so many things that I didn’t think I would ever have to do. It was good to prove to others who doubted me too. Every day is different to what I imagined and I have adapted well to the change in career. Doing the apprenticeship has kept me in employment and given me a new focus.
“I hope my experience proves to others that they should have confidence in themselves and keep going because it is possible to achieve things you don’t imagine you can do.”
Linsey Higgs, Martin’s Work Based Tutor from Learning Unlimited said:
“It is amazing to see Martin’s journey through his apprenticeship and to see that he is now training other people is brilliant. He has been amazing and has worked really hard to develop his skills, even when he was shielding because of his health he kept going with the apprenticeship work. He passed all his maths and English assessments first time thanks to all the hard work he put in at home. He has really made the most of what has been a bad year by putting everything into his apprenticeship and it has paid off for him. I am delighted for him.”