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Nick Toms is one of thousands of adults taking the opportunity to retrain via an Apprenticeship. Despite his former career with the police, Nick made a life-changing decision in 2015 when he decided to take up an Apprenticeship with Babcock, tempted by the prospect of being able to progress to a degree without having to sacrifice a salary. Having always held an interest in sciences, electrical engineering seemed the perfect fit.
Alongside learning on the job, Nick attended lectures at City College, first completing a level 3 Apprenticeship before progressing to an HND in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. After completing the HND, Nick studied part-time for a further two years which has resulted in him gaining the next level of qualification, a foundation degree, which he said has really enhanced his career.
Nick said: “I always had an interest in how things work – however, my career went in a different direction and I joined the police, which I loved. However, life changed, so I had to re-consider my options.
“Like a majority of adults, I have bills to pay, so studying full-time wasn’t really an option. I had always thought about doing a degree, and then I found out about higher level Apprenticeships. Seeing that I could potentially do one in an area that fascinates me – it was just the perfect solution. Even more perfect as I could learn on the job and pay my bills.”
Since joining Babcock, Nick has progressed from a fitter to an electrical designer. He said the progress he has made in the past seven years would not have been possible were it not for the support of his family, friends – but mostly his lecturers and his employer.
“The fact that my employer has funded me and allowed me the time to continue with my studies has really helped. Without this I would have struggled to find the time and funds required to further my studies, and this would have been an added pressure. I have felt so supported throughout this journey. There are a lot of adults studying at City College so you don’t ever feel out of place.
“In addition to the tasks you do in your day job, the College allows you to further explore the principles of engineering. The course is well-structured and you are encouraged to really challenge yourself.
“I’m hoping I will have the opportunity to progress to a degree in the near future – but I’m planning a short break from studying, just for this year whilst my fiancé and I plan our wedding. I’ve got a real bug for learning now and furthering my education as much as I can.
“I’d thoroughly recommend an Apprenticeship to anyone who, like me, feels they need a change. The lecturers will support you with managing work and college, and it’s really great being able to retrain whilst earning a salary.”