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36-year-old Aaron overcomes his scepticism about apprenticeships to learn a new trade

12 Feb 2021
Aaron Da Silva, 36 from Failsworth, is currently working towards a Level 3 Gas Engineering Apprenticeship with the GC Education and Skills and Sure Maintenance.

Prior to starting his apprenticeship, Aaron served in the Royal Marines for 15 years. When his service ended Aaron briefly worked as a Gym Instructor before realising this wasn’t the career for him, and that he was interested in learning a trade.

Aaron knew he’d need to start at the bottom with his training and heard about the vacancy with Sure Maintenance through a friend. His wife Rachel encouraged him to apply and Aaron’s journey towards a career began.

Before starting his training, Aaron was sceptical about the idea of apprenticeships, worrying that he might be too old. He said “When I decided to do the apprenticeship, I thought I was going to feel uncomfortable in a class of younger students, however, this was completely not the case. There are people of all different ages and walks of life and GC Education and Skills do everything possible to make you feel welcome and comfortable throughout the course.”

Speaking of the support he’s received during his apprenticeship, Aaron said: “The Growth Company Education and Skills always provide support, whether that be a quick telephone call or one to one tutoring on things I’m not sure of. They are always there to help.”

Aaron’s employers Sure Maintenance are keen to employ apprentices of all ages. James Mallard, Contracts Manager, said: “Our apprentices come from all walks of life and are very important to us - they help us to grow our own talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified local team. Many of us started as trainees like Aaron and have worked our way up. Sure is all about bringing apprentices through, helping them to become qualified and offering jobs at the end to give them a solid start to their careers.”

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Aaron sadly found himself furloughed, but this didn’t stop him from working towards the completion of the apprenticeship. Through distance learning, Aaron has been able to work towards completing his End Point Assessment, which he hopes to take in the next couple of months.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though, as Aaron has 3 young children at home and like many struggled with fitting online learning around childcare arrangements. He said: “Distance learning at home during the pandemic has been quite testing, however, my Skills Development Coach has supported me and helped me manage my time better, motivating me to log on and get the work done.”

Skills Development Coach, Stephen Tasker said: “Aaron was sceptical about apprenticeships because of his age but he has been a calming influence on younger learners. He has taken some learners who were struggling under his wing to encourage them and peer assess them. It has been a pleasure working with Aaron and he will be an asset to any employer, this is just the beginning for Aaron. Unfortunately, Aaron had a serious hospitalisation however, when he was fit and well again, he caught up with his peers and continued to motivate the other learners.”

If you are someone you know is interested in a Gas Engineering Apprenticeship, no matter their age, get in touch with our team.

If you are an employer and considering recruiting an apprentice, get in touch.