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Meet our apprentices: Jordan

Tell us a little bit about you and your education to date
I’m Jordan and I’m a laboratory technician apprentice at the Fordham Site. I started in sample management and worked there for my first six months. Before I started at LGC I had completed a BTEC Level 3 sport and exercise science diploma, in which I managed to achieve a Triple Distinction Star grade. Before this, I never studied any specialist science subject such as chemistry or biology and only gained a C in my core science during my GCSEs. My knowledge of chemistry was very limited, so starting a chemistry apprenticeship was a little daunting but I was very happy to be taking on the challenge.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
I chose the apprenticeship to test myself in a new subject instead of going on to university to study sports science and encountering a large amount of debt. I visited many different universities but never felt that it was for me as I knew I’d like to stay at home to save myself some money. I knew about the apprenticeship programme at LGC having seen it advertised the same year I left secondary school but at the time I was too young to apply. It was always in my mind that this could be an alternative option but not having a science background could mean that I wouldn’t be accepted for it.   

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What do you think you have learned since starting your apprenticeship?
I have learnt a lot of chemistry as it’s not really a subject that I’ve ever been taught and although it’s hard work trying to catch up with the other apprentices, I feel that I haven’t got too much to catch up on. I find the course very interesting and in some ways I think I find it easier than the other apprentices as its learning a completely new subject rather than going over subjects that you partly know about already. I have to put a lot of effort in to my assignments and research, so I often use my spare time in the week to do my assignments as it does take me a little longer than just our college day to complete a whole assignment. I’m also a triathlete so I have quite a busy training schedule in which I need to fit my college work around, so I normally plan a week ahead so I don’t have to cancel anything or find that I’m short for time.

How has it changed you?
Since working at LGC I have gained a lot of confidence which has really shown in my work. I have always been good at time management and planning so working while doing a college course hasn’t been too much of a problem. It is sometimes stressful but my tutor is normally only an email away, so he can help with most problems or answer any of my questions about the work. The college side is flexible as well so if I ever have a really busy week or am just not feeling well enough to do the work then I’m able to put the deadline back by a few days which is always a handy option to have. 
 
What do you enjoy most about your apprenticeship at LGC?
The people! Everyone is really nice and chatty which makes the time fly. If I ever need any help I know who to talk to which is also a really nice feeling as you know that they would do their best to help. I never feel under any pressure but I think that people know you are going to make a few mistakes along the away, so as long as you admit to them and try to learn from it then it normally works out.
 
What does a typical day involve?
A typical day for me will involve carrying out multiple tasks which are mainly just checking that all the equipment is running well and that the scientists don’t have any major problems or equipment shortages. I will make up reagents, wash glassware, calibrate pipettes and any other little jobs that need to be done. I always find that I’m keeping busy and rarely have a free five minutes.
  
What advice would you give someone else starting out on their career?
My advice would be to try and find a job that you love and find that you’re learning something new every day. My first few months have flown by at LGC purely because I’m constantly learning new skills or information that helps me do my job. I have had jobs in the past that I haven’t found challenging and although they are very easy to do, the hours seem to pass very slowly as it’s just not enjoyable. It’s also important to look at all your options and have multiple plans for your future as you never know what might happen. Before being accepted onto the apprenticeship I had been accepted into numerous universities which were the route I would have taken if I didn’t get onto the scheme. I know that a lot of kids my age will go onto university from college or sixth form but then struggle to get a job at the end of their course, so doing an apprenticeship helps you make a start on the job ladder and you have a certain job at the end of it which means that there is no pressure or uncertainty. The best part is you’re earning money while you’re learning, plus you’re not going to be in debt at the end!
 
What are your career plans for the future?
For starters I would like to complete my apprenticeship and progress into a scientist role. I am hoping to find a role in the sports side of the business as I have always had an interest in sport from a young age so it would be great to combine my interest in science and sport. I have also considered going to university to add to my qualifications but that would be a few years down the line.