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National Apprenticeship Week: BEST staff stories

Our National Apprenticeship Week focus today is all about proving that it’s not just an option for young people leaving school, but all adults.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over 16, living in England and not already in full-time education.

BEST also has access to the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy funding to pay for the training element of an apprenticeship.

As a result, we have a number of staff who are developing their careers and gaining qualifications and experience.

Meet some BEST workers who are currently benefitting from apprenticeships:


Sarah Horne – Assistant Principal, St Christophers Academy

Apprenticeship: Level 7 Senior Leader

I started my course in September and am completing it with the National College and University of Roehampton. It is a two-year course and takes place online with some face-to-face days for each module.

The course is full of headteachers, senior leaders and middle leaders looking to develop their skills into senior leadership. It is similar to the NPQH but helps you to look at many organisations outside education and is much more business focused. 

I am absolutely loving all the new learning and thinking more strategic and business minding about school leadership. It is a lot of work, but at the end of it I will have a Masters qualification alongside the leadership skills and knowledge. 

I would definitely recommend it to others and happy to speak with anyone considering it. It is hard getting back into the mindset of writing Masters level assignment writing, but there is a lot of support out there through the National College to help you.


Julie McMillan – Careers Administrator, Samuel Whitbread Academy

Apprenticeship: Level 6 Career Development Professional

My course is taking place over 24 months and there’s lots of elements, including monthly workshops, online learning, coaching sessions, reviews and off-the-job training.

There’s a lot of theory and it’s intense and full on, but thankfully my colleagues and the school are very supportive.

So much of what I do in work relates to this course so I can use a lot of it as evidence of what I’ve done.

I would recommend it – apprenticeships offer a collaborative approach. And you’ve always got a support network around you as others are doing it too.


Palvir Sidhu – PE Assistant, Pix Brook Academy

Level 3 Teaching Assistant (specialising in sport)

I started at Pix Brook in September and am here for a year before my university course – I wanted to see what it’s like. My ultimate goal is to be a PE teacher.

I really enjoy it and get to a little bit of everything, including running extracurricular clubs and taking lessons. I work at the school five days a week but one day is set aside for study, so I get my coursework done in that time.

BEST has funded the course. I’ve been given such an opportunity and have learned so much already.


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