From excluded at school to a creative career

 22 March 2016

While school and college were challenging, having the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship has started me on a great career path. Winning Apprentice of the Year has given me the confidence to continue to work hard and challenge myself.

"I think apprenticeships are just as valuable as attending university and getting a degree" Image: James Fletcher

At secondary school I found it difficult being in a classroom with over 30 students. I became unsettled and disruptive, which led to me being excluded from a mainstream school.

This meant that I had to finish my secondary education in at a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU).

After spending two years at a PRU in small classes, I then found it difficult to re-engage in mainstream education. I even started college but left after six months.

After that, I was fortunate enough to get myself a job. But I knew that to actually achieve a career, I would need qualifications and training.

Finding an apprenticeship

By luck I saw an employee from a theatre that I was introduced to by the PRU.

I used my apprenticeship to explore all aspects of theatre.

She kindly told me all about apprenticeships and explained that by undertaking one I could work, gain experience and earn a qualification at the end of it. 

After hearing all the benefits, I applied for an apprenticeship within the arts and secured a role at the Lyric Hammersmith. This is where I first discovered my ability to think creatively.

My view on apprenticeships

I think apprenticeships are just as valuable as attending university and getting a degree. Not everyone has the focus to sit in a classroom – some people learn better by getting involved and doing things.

Personally, from doing an apprenticeship I am on a great career path. I have learned skills which I can apply to future jobs and I have gained a few qualifications, which I hope will be as significant as a degree.

Apprenticeships – however – are not easy. They can be just as challenging as writing an essay, only in a different way.

Think about your next steps

My top career tip would be to not be afraid to try different things.

Not everyone has the focus to sit in a classroom – some people learn better by getting involved and doing things

Challenge yourself in your apprenticeship. Even though entering a professional environment at the age of 16-24 can be very intimidating, push yourself and get out of your comfort zone.

With my apprenticeship, I used it to explore all the different aspects of theatre. I ended up going from working in the young people department to being a development officer in the fundraising department. 

Winning Apprentice of the Year 2016

Winning the Apprentice of the Year Award has boosted my confidence so much.

It is amazing to be recognised across the industry for my achievements and it just goes to show how much support I was given, not only by my employer but the whole creative sector.

Find out why Sherice was awarded the Creative & Cultural Skills Apprentice of the Year Award 2016 and learn more about the other winners.