British Engineering Manufacturers Association
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BEMA Apprentice visits the House of Commons
Toby Stenning of Dyson explains about his visit.
It all started when I was asked to represent Dyson down at the House of Commons; obviously I could not turn down the opportunity (especially considering I’ve never actually been to London before). I was thrilled that I had been chosen to go to parliament! Arriving at Paddington station was surreal, like nothing I was used to, the station was flooded with people of all kinds and from all areas across the country.
I then took my first black cab and arrived just outside of Westminster abbey. Getting out that taxi was like stepping out into a complete different world, I am used to being surrounded by field after field, now I’m in the centre of a concrete jungle! From Westminster we walked to the Houses of Parliament where we were instantly stopped and checked by various armed police officers, it made me realise how important these buildings really are! As we walk further into the building, there were ancient drawings and paintings all over which were an amazing sight.
When I walked into the drinks reception on the Terrance Pavilion I was astounded by the
amount of apprentices from various sectors all in one room! It was interesting to speak to the other apprentices and see what their apprenticeship is like and how they got to where they are, it gives you an insight of what to come and also shows that people with various abilities can achieve such brilliant things. Rt Hon Robert Halfon then came onto the stage to speak about apprenticeships. He went on to say how
he desperately wants the amount of apprenticeships to expand to at least 3+ million, not only does he want to increase the amount of apprenticeships available but he also wants to improve the standard of the qualification received. Halfon then went on to say that nobody should be left out of a chance of gaining an apprenticeship, no matter what background that person came from.
Various apprentices each took their turn in coming up to the stage and telling everybody their story, how they changed their life, how life went from being a rocky road to smooth sailing and also demonstrate the skills that each individual has gained from taking an apprenticeship rather than the alternatives; going to university or college for example. It was inspiring hearing other apprentice’s stories, especially as I am on the same road that everybody else has gone down.
After all the speaking was done, photos were due of course. This also gave everyone another opportunity to speak to the others and try get a word in with Robert Halfon himself! Looking round I could not see anyone looking out of place or distant from everyone else and personally I believe that is something great. To be able to get 160+ young people in a room and to all interact with one another so easily is something quite special and I believe our apprenticeships are the reason for that. They help us develop as a person as well as gaining key skills whilst being in the working environment.
So you ask, are apprenticeships really worth it? Well my answer to that is with no shadow of a doubt, I would not pass on the opportunity to be where I am now. There has not been anything to deter me from achieving my absolute best, nothing could stop me from striving to be the best and going to the event has strengthened that feeling.