Leicester College Blog

Switching career paths to become an award-winning apprentice with Leicester College


After leaving school, Cole Cherry had initially pursued a career path in health and social care, with an ambition to become a midwife. However, after a change of mind, he decided to take up a plastering apprenticeship with Leicester College instead. His decision was rewarded when he was named Apprentice Champion at the 2024 Leicester College Apprenticeship Awards.

Going down the trade route

Cole decided to switch from health and social care to a plastering apprenticeship because he felt that having a trade would give him better job security in the future. He chose Leicester College due to its supportive staff and good recommendations.

“I realised that I wanted a job where I had to do more hands-on work than something academic,” Cole says. “I looked around on Google and found that apprenticeships allow you to work in the field and learn on the job, but you can also earn while you learn.”

Cole became a plastering apprentice with Leicester City Council, where he is currently spending 30 hours per week – or 80% of the course. The other 20% sees him engaged in training or study to improve his skills and knowledge.

“The whole course was great, but I think I enjoyed the practical work the most,” he says. “It reaffirmed to me that I’d made the right choice in switching career paths. The best thing for me is that my apprenticeship is paid.”

Looking to the future

Cole was recently named as Leicester College’s Apprentice Champion, an award that is a true testament to his hard work and dedication to his trade.

“I was honoured to receive it,” Cole continues. “I didn’t expect to win but it feels great to be given that recognition and just gives me the motivation to work harder.”

Cole plans to go into another apprenticeship and stay on with Leicester City Council once he’s finished with his current course.

“I want to widen my knowledge and get better,” he adds. “I’m enjoying the work and I want to be able to progress once I’ve built a solid foundation.

“I would recommend doing an apprenticeship to everyone. For me, I’ve managed to get a trade and learn the value of the skills that come with it, whilst earning an income that’s higher than most incomes people my age make.

“A lot of my friends have gone to university for 3-4 years and have had to find part-time jobs to support themselves whilst also accumulating student debt, whereas my apprenticeship has let me learn on the job and earn money at the same time. It’s one of the best choices I’ve made.”

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