Bethan Jones, Paragon Skills
Fully Skilled Heavy Good Vehicle Fitter
The Borough of Poole Council
I always had an interest in engines, and as a hobby often customized motorbikes with a friend. I went to 6th form and studied Psychology and Sociology with a career in the care sector in mind. I knew that it wasn’t me, and followed my heart and passion for all things mechanical in pursuit of a career in the automotive industry.
As a female wanting to enter what is viewed as a male dominated industry I wasn’t too sure where to start. I knew that an apprenticeship was going to be my best option, providing a blend of practical and theoretical learning with the added challenge of the workplace environment. I didn’t want to just go to college and maybe struggle to find employment at the end of my course.
I initially started with my training provider Paragon Skills on a study programme, very much like a traineeship. Paragon Skills helped me to find a placement that would be right for me. I was one of six candidates shortlisted for the HGV apprenticeship with Poole Borough Council, and the only female. After looking around the workshop at where I’d be employed, I knew it was an environment where I could thrive and was thrilled to be selected as the successful candidate.
I started my intermediate level 2 apprenticeship in September 2013. On completion I progressed immediately to level 3, and completed my Advanced Apprenticeship in July 2016. The whole apprenticeship journey has been an amazing experience and one of my proudest moments was last year when I was nominated for a National Award. I entered the National Apprenticeship Awards and won the regional final, I was selected by a panel of judges as South West Regional Advanced Apprentice of the Year.
I am now a fully qualified Fitter, qualified to service and maintain the full range of Poole Borough vehicles from Beach Quad-Bikes to the Heavy Goods Fleet. I also have supervisory and work scheduling responsibilities, and I’m working towards my level 4 management qualification. I take great satisfaction from my job, it’s rewarding to know that my contribution helps to improve the quality of life for the people and businesses of Poole.
My apprenticeship has allowed a passion of mine to flourish and blossom into a terrific career, I have realistic and achievable career aspirations and targets. In addition to the specialised areas of mechanics, I’ve also had the opportunity to achieve my HGV drivers license.
I am a strong believer in apprenticeships and would recommend them without hesitation. I’m proud to act as apprenticeship ambassador and frequently work with young people to help them understand the benefits of an apprenticeship and how they work. I visit schools and take an active part in general careers guidance and information sessions.