"I was at rock bottom until I became a FedEx apprentice – it’s changed my life."
With exam results being announced across the UK, students are making big decisions about their next move. While many may feel going university and getting a degree is the only method to get on the career ladder, and amid discussions about student debt, there is an alternative.
Once viewed as manual trade, today there are more apprenticeship schemes in white-collar professions, including HR and engineering, and over 500,000 apprentices in the UK.
In part, change has occurred as a result of government awareness schemes which have altered attitudes towards apprenticeships. A study by Indeed and Britain Thinks found that Britons view the creation of more apprenticeships as one of the best three ways to make the UK a great place to work and find jobs.
FedEx does not just deliver parcels, it has an international infrastructure that involves a variety of components and skills. The FedEx Apprenticeship Scheme provides opportunities for young people to work in an evolving and fast-paced sector, supporting the development of their skills and training the logistics leaders of tomorrow.
Two FedEx apprentices, Paige Broome a HR apprentice and Shane Carter an Engineering Technician apprentice, have spoken candidly about their experiences and how the FedEx apprenticeship scheme supports them.
Case Study 1: Paige Broome, HR Apprentice, FedEx
"I first realised I was on the right track thanks to becoming a FedEx apprentice."
With a widespread skills shortage in key industries and sectors across the UK amid an ongoing debate about student debt, apprenticeships are increasingly seen as an ideal option for talented young people to develop and progress in the workplace.
Established in September 2014, the FedEx Apprenticeship Scheme helps nurture and train the next generation of talent in addition to allowing FedEx to give back to the communities it serves.
As hundreds of thousands of students anxiously await their GSCE and A-level results, offering young people alternative pathways to professional careers with the ability to earn and learn is deservedly gaining wider recognition. Here, Paige Broome, a 22-year-old HR apprentice based in Coventry, tells her story.
How it began
"As I was finishing sixth form back in 2014 I wasn’t sure what to do next. It was disconcerting that a lot of my friends had proper plans in place and had the next few years mapped out. University seemed like a big commitment in terms of time and financing, particularly as I didn’t have a specific course in mind. At the time, I was working in a gym to support myself while thinking about what would be best for me long-term. I’d always liked the option of being able to work, earn and learn with practical, real-world experience while deciding my career path was ideal so apprenticeships had always appealed to me.
"A friend was in a similar position and recommended BPP [a leading provider of qualifications and training]. Following her advice and enrolling on the Business Administration and CIPD Level 3 HR Apprenticeship, I soon found the trainee placement with FedEx in their HR department and was drawn to it immediately. It offered access to career progression in an area that had always interested me as well as the chance to learn and advance while being paid. I applied straight away and was thrilled to be offered a place."
“I started with FedEx as part of my BPP course in March 2016. The arrangement was dividing my time between four days a week in the office with the other day in my local BPP centre (or studying from home depending on the workload) in preparation for a monthly exam or other assignment. Initially I found it difficult to balance the apprenticeship with studying but my team were brilliant in helping with time management and always being on hand for general support. It was great to be treated exactly the same as my colleagues while I was given the same responsibilities from the start. Adjusting to the new workload and gaining experience of different situations has also helped with my coursework. As a result I will be on course to achieve a CIPD Level 3 in HR.
“I began to realise how lucky I was to have found something I both loved and was good at when my colleagues and managers started praising my work and putting me forward for wider recognition. I was awarded several internal FedEx Bravo Zulu awards for going above and beyond my normal job expectations, and even won a top prize at the BPP Apprentice of the Year Awards 2017 earlier this year – an amazing achievement which wouldn’t have been possible without FedEx. It made me feel incredibly proud to know I was doing a good job.”
“I’ve always been social and outgoing so my role is perfect in allowing me to work with lots of different people and find ways to help them. No two days are exactly the same but I typically handle recruitment, onboarding and inductions for new employees. I also assist managers with interviews and deal with new starter contracts. Helping new employees get up to speed and offering wider support is one of my favourite elements of the role and I enjoy planning full inductions across different departments. I also assist FedEx employees working remotely and act as their onsite contact. Dealing with people in a variety of situations can be challenging but I’ve learnt an incredible amount about myself and the best ways to navigate potentially tricky or stressful areas. I’d love to continue studying to work up to a CIPD Level 5 in HR and ultimately become an HR Representative here at FedEx.”
How my life changed
“My apprenticeship with FedEx has transformed my confidence and my general outlook. I’m happier, more outgoing and invaluable real-world experience has given me a better understanding of my capabilities. I’ve learnt to adapt my behaviour and how to conduct myself in different situations and challenging circumstances. It’s great to feel that I’m exactly where I need to be and know what I should be doing in the months and years ahead.
“It’s fantastic to be able to progress and develop professionally – especially as I was one of the only people in my friendship group who didn’t go to university and used to worry about feeling left behind. Now I’m progressing well and at the same level as them. At the moment, I’m able to save for a house and put a little money aside – something that would be unthinkable for a lot of people my age. I always liked apprenticeships and undertaking one has convinced me that it’s the great pathway for young people across the UK to learn, progress and gain professional experience. I’m lucky to have been able to benefit from my apprenticeship and think more should be available to people like me.”
Case Study 2: Shane Carter, Engineering Technician Apprentice, FedEx
"I was at rock bottom until I became a FedEx apprentice – it’s changed my life."
Launched in September 2014, the FedEx Apprenticeship Scheme identifies and nurtures talented young individuals while equipping them with the skills to thrive in the modern workplace. The UK is currently experiencing a skills shortage in key industries, including engineering, therefore the FedEx Apprenticeship Scheme provides an opportunity to recruit and train crucial talent. The initiative focuses on teaching the leaders and innovators of tomorrow while allowing FedEx to give back to the communities it serves.
With hundreds of thousands of young people planning their futures based on their GSCE and A-level results, offering multiple routes for skilled careers and long-term training is increasingly important – an apprenticeship offers an alternative, giving young people the chance to learn and earn. Here, Shane Carter, 23-years old, an Engineering Technician based in Stoke, tells his story.
How it began
“In 2011, I used to work as an electrical apprentice in Derby before I was unexpectedly made redundant. I then took on odd jobs, such as cleaning, to get by but was determined not to be discouraged from finding the next opportunity. I then moved to Stoke and saw the listing for the FedEx scheme through the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). I jumped at the chance and was over the moon to be invited to an open day the following day. I couldn’t believe it when they told me I’d been selected shortly afterwards.
“The opportunity to learn on the job with a world-famous company like FedEx was exactly what I’d been looking for. I started in 2014 and embraced the learning curve straight away – my previous experience had been limited to electrical engineering so I needed to build my knowledge on the mechanical side of things too. I knew I had to prove myself by working my way up and was dead-set on showing my potential.”
“When I started my apprenticeship, I worked four days a week and went to college for one day studying electrical and mechanical maintenance. Managing coursework with my work and personal life wasn’t always easy but I was lucky to have had a supportive team who were always on hand for any advice or encouragement. Since finishing college, I’m now working towards completing an NVQ 3 in electrical maintenance. By the time I finish my three-year apprenticeship in September, I will gain a Level 3 Technical Certificate as well as a huge amount of on-the-job skills and real-world experience.”
“My day-to-day roles and responsibilities include performing regular maintenance on machinery at FedEx hubs and depots across the country. This might be performing planned maintenance or repairs, responding to any breakdowns, completing inspection reports and any other general maintenance duties needed at the time. I love the variety and that no two days are ever the same as well as getting out and about visiting towns and cities around the UK. I’m incredibly lucky to enjoy getting up each morning and look forward to going to work.”
How my life changed
“It’s hard to overstate how grateful I am to FedEx for this whole experience. My colleagues and managers are unfailingly helpful, friendly and supportive and worked hard to create a supportive environment where I could reach my full potential. I’m particularly proud to have advanced along the apprenticeship smoothly and steadily, gradually accruing more responsibility and expanding my role. In September, I hope to get a permanent contract to continue my career at FedEx.
“The apprenticeship has hugely benefitted me both personally and professionally. Since working and training with FedEx, everything’s changed for the better. I’ve been able to take driving lessons, buy a car and improve life at home for my girlfriend and daughter. It’s also transformed my professional outlook and potential. My workplace confidence, professional skills and practical experience are at an all-time high – and I owe it all to FedEx.
“I’m always looking to continue advancing, learning new skills and earning more qualifications and I’m lucky to have a manager so supportive of my personal and professional development. There’s a serious skills shortage in this country and an apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity to earn and learn at the same time and I hope to see more opportunities in the future.
Emma Sutherland, HR Services Manager, UK & Ireland, FedEx Express Europe, says: “At FedEx, we’re extremely proud of all our apprentices – they’re committed members of the team. Our apprentices don’t just learn from us, we learn a lot from them. They offer new ideas and ways of thinking, while their enthusiasm and commitment adds dynamism and passion to their teams – contributing to the business’ growth and innovation.
“We believe it’s extremely important for companies to educate the next generation, as they have the expertise and influence to pass on vital skills and knowledge. Once an apprentice gains their qualifications the learning shouldn’t stop, and companies like ours can provide opportunities for employees to develop and hone their skills as well as gain the qualifications needed to enhance their careers.”
, ,  Telegraph.co.uk, March 2017