22 year old Luke Baxter from Stalybridge left West Hill School with an impressive 13 GCSEs at grade A*-C. He went on to study four A-levels at Ashton Sixth Form College but instead of moving onto the traditional route of university, Luke decided that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and undertake a more practical trade. Luke was enrolled on the three year Level 3 Gas Utilisation Apprenticeship with The Skills Company and undertook all of his practical training at the purpose built Greater Manchester SkillCentre on Trafford Park.

Whilst on his Apprenticeship, Luke showed an interest in the teaching and assessment side of the course. He spoke to his tutor, Terry Charnock, who gave Luke some insight into what tutoring involved. Luke completed his Apprenticeship training with The Skills Company and Baxter Heating on a Friday and on the Monday he was given the opportunity to undertake some supervised teaching sessions at the SkillCentre and also work on some private tutoring for two struggling students.

Luke enjoyed his experience so much that he began doing more supervised sessions and enrolled on the Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) qualification through The Skills Company. This course taught Luke the basics on a range of vital skills, including approaches to teaching and learning, assessment techniques, effective record keeping and introductions to lesson planning and preparing resources. On successful completion of the course, Luke was able to begin unsupervised sessions at the SkillCentre, where he now works as a Gas Trainer, instructing on a range of Pre-Apprenticeship, Apprenticeship and Smart Meter programmes. In the future Luke would like to progress onto the Certificate in Education qualification and also complete his Assessor award.

Describing a typical day Luke explains that it involves early starts, lesson planning, setting up materials for the day and then running through the theory elements of the session with learners in the morning, before moving onto practical work in the afternoon. Luke uses PowerPoint presentations with diagrams to explain the theory and then asks the learners to carry out the testing for themselves in practical, afternoon sessions. He feels this works well, as most learners undertake Apprenticeships in this area because they prefer practical work, so the balance works.

Speaking about his own Apprenticeship, Luke said “My Apprenticeship training was fantastic. My tutor Eddie was great. If I didn’t understand something he would work through it with me until I did. I would not hesitate to recommend a Gas Utilisation Apprenticeship to anyone; the progression opportunities are really extensive and very varied.”