I didn’t think A-Levels were going to be the way for me – and University definitely wasn’t the way. I had been in school since I was 5 and I didn’t want to be there any longer!

Before I came to City Gateway I was doing A-Levels, I finished them, but I didn’t think it was the best thing for me. I got good grades in my first year and not so great grades in my second year and that’s when I thought, maybe I should look at other routes – and Apprenticeships was one of them.

My friend attended City Gateway before me and then he referred me onto a course – I thought I would give it a go. I didn’t have much hope in it the first time I came here, because I was learning some things that I thought I already knew, but when we got further into the Apprenticeship training we were doing all the employability stuff and that was really helpful – I found it useful.

I had tried applying for jobs myself and I had a few interviews, I got called for a few jobs, but some were paying £150 per week – which wasn’t what I was looking for. I thought I would give City Gateway a go, because my friend said you could get good Apprenticeships and jobs, including at banks. I want to go into banking so I was hearing all of this – London Stock Exchange, Societe Generale – I thought it sounded like the right option.

What I like about City Gateway is that they give you a work placement as part of your Traineeship, before your Apprenticeship to give you experience. You are getting experience in a company like IBM; you can’t do that by yourself. I did mine at a recruitment agency – It gives you that first time in the office and you build up a lot of experience and it really helps.

‘I wanted to do something different. I wanted to get out there and work.’

My 6-weeks at the recruitment agency were good – it was different. I was on the phone all the time and I was speaking to clients from 2–3 days in. It was daunting the first few times, but then I was doing it so much that eventually it became normal – I would come in, pick up the phone and have the same conversations but with different people. City Gateway gives you the opportunity to get that work experience that you don’t get anywhere else. That develops you as a person, puts skills on your CV which you wouldn’t have had before.

I would have eventually got an Apprenticeship had I kept applying by myself, but it would have taken a lot longer and I would be way behind at the moment – I wouldn’t be as far. I’ve finished my Apprenticeship now and I’ve just landed a permanent role. I have a contract with a good salary and I’m set, it’s all in my hands at the moment. In about 5 years maybe I’d like to be like an Investment Manager – so I’m working towards that.

City Gateway sets you up for life really, with the Apprenticeships. Obviously if you make the most of it – it works outs.

I have referred like 5 people to City Gateway, and they all come here – I think it’s great. It gives you that experience that you need, which you might not have.

I would definitely advise people to get involved.

*Photography represents City Gateway, but does not depict the individual featured in the story