Greater Manchester Apprenticeship Company’s (GMAC) innovative portal This Is Me has now surpassed the 10,000 user mark since its inception just nine months ago.

One of the first learners to get an apprenticeship through the portal was Skills Company apprentice John-Martin Pugh, where he currently works as a Level 2 Business Administration apprentice.

Here John explains why he wanted to pursue an apprenticeship: During my second year of college (Oldham Sixth Form) I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to university or not. I felt that university is a great career path to take if you enjoy studying but I’ve always preferred practical work. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of the alternative routes to learning. When I decided to look into becoming an apprentice, I already felt confident about my next steps. The idea of learning whilst earning really appealed to me. I liked the idea of building and developing new skills that I would be able to apply in the workplace”.

Since National Apprenticeship Week there has been a groundswell in the number of accounts registered to the This Is Me portal with that figure sitting at over 11,500. Young learners have a greater understanding of the benefits of being an apprentice. As John comments: Developing my independence was definitely a big sell for me when deciding to become an apprentice; being offered the opportunity to grow and evolve in a new environment is one of the most enjoyable aspects of being an apprentice.

Something about apprenticeships has always appealed to me. Learning and earning seems like a win-win situation so finding one became a pursuit of mine after leaving college.

This apprenticeship has also helped me work on my own personal development and the GMAC team are always on hand to give me feedback and advice”.

When John was asked what he would say to encourage young people to pursue an apprenticeship he replied: I’d say, if you like practical work then an apprenticeship is a great opportunity to learn new skills whilst applying them. It helps to build confidence and it provides valuable insight into the working world. As a young person, it has really given me the chance to understand myself better and what I want to do in the future”.

This is Me, launched in September 2016, is exclusively available to young people studying with GMAC providers across Greater Manchester, providing them with 24-7 support and access to a range of careers resources including help building a CV, video-based mock interviews, tips from employers and a hub of live vacancies in the region.

To find out more about the Greater Manchester Apprenticeship Company, contact the project lead Helen Hawxwell (gmac@apprenticeshipgrowth.co.uk).