WE couldn’t let National Apprenticeship Week 2023 pass without proudly introducing Xact’s own apprentice - Jamie Shorthouse.
The 18-year-old is seven months into an 18-month programme in his role as part of our administration team learning the ropes in supporting those who embark on our qualifications and courses.
Sports fan Jamie is looking forward to assisting fellow apprentices on our first Level 4 Fire Safety Inspector Apprenticeship when their programme kicks off next month.
Here he takes a break from his busy schedule to explain why he decided to opt for a Business Administration Apprenticeship with Xact; what he is learning about the Fire Safety Sector and how he hopes it will help fulfil his career ambitions:
Jamie says: “I felt a little apprehensive taking my first steps towards employment after A-Levels. Suddenly, school’s out and it is all down to you.
“Before completing my A-Levels, I felt a responsibility in getting a career off the ground and explored the benefit of apprenticeships as an alternative to university. I completed online courses based on Business Management and Software and Database Development to help inform my decision.
University beckoned for Jamie who did well at A-Levels studying Business, Computer Science, Core Maths and History at De Montfort School, Evesham, Worcestershire.
He says: “I was keen on university but also concerned about the costs involved. Plus, it was important to me to start right away gaining skills to improve my employability.“
An apprenticeship seemed the perfect way to earn and learn business skills, so the teenager accepted an apprenticeship with Xact, via Cirencester College, to gain a qualification in Business Administration upon completion.
“Before applying, I carried out a lot of research into the business, learning that it was the UK’s top fire safety training provider,” Jamie added.
“Ensuring individuals are fully trained and declared competent via courses and qualifications is vital to everyone’s safety. It seemed like a good starting point for a career.
“I get to experience all aspects of business with Xact including finance, marketing, IT and Management skills which will help determining my future career path.
“Through developing customer service and communication skills, I enjoy discovering what is important to those seeking our services; taking courses and aiming for qualifications.
“Helping people pursue their goals is rewarding. If I get a sense that a caller, about to embark on a programme for the first time, is feeling a bit panicky, I empathise with them. I am pleased to help them reach the stage where they feel confident moving forward, perhaps, to one of our highly advanced courses such Level 5 Fire Engineering Design. I am looking forward to working with the Level 4 Fire Safety Inspector Apprentices who begin their programmes next month.
“I am gaining an amazing insight into the Fire Safety Sector with the opportunity to understand how technology supports our work here.”
Downtime is important to Jamie too – out of hours, he loves nothing more than a round of golf:
“I am an avid golf fan, both playing and watching. I am also a great Everton Football Club supporter. I watch each game with the anticipation of a win regardless of the situation.
“I also enjoy engrossing myself in difficult computer coding problems and devising the best outcome. I also unwind exploring the outdoors and walking in the lovely countryside near my home in The Cotswolds.”
A career pathway into Business Management is Jamie’s ambition for the future.
He says: “I am fine with working my way up – it is how I would prefer to reach the top of my career progression. Starting with an apprenticeship means I get paid while developing lifelong skills.
“Xact’s office working environment is helping to hone my communication skills because of the sheer numbers of stakeholders we deal with. My ability to prioritise and manage tasks assigned to me each day is also improving.
“I have gained a great insight into the fire safety sector through needing to learn about course progression and how qualifications are gained.
“I like to keep on top of my work as it grows more complex, and it is good to know that my colleagues are always here to assist, checking each step. Teamwork and supporting each other is the lynchpin to our work at Xact, making sure the business is firing on all cylinders.
“As an apprentice, it is vital to understand how to manage your tasks to ensure you are completing your work during the day for the business while also allowing time to keep up with the requirements of the apprenticeship training provider.
“No day is ever the same and I am learning something new all the time – it could be understanding a new process or familiarising myself about a new course on offer.
“I am delighted that I was fortunate enough to be provided with the opportunity to do my apprenticeship at Xact. It has enabled me to develop my knowledge in the Fire Safety Sector while also developing my understanding of how businesses function.
“I been given an exceptional opportunity and now it is down to me to capitalise on it for the benefit of the business and me personally.
“To those thinking about doing an apprenticeship, I’d say just do it.”