Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 13.40.38A County Durham woman has won a place at university and found a promising career after dropping out of college twice and feeling hopeless about her prospects.

Lauren Wylie, 20, from Ouston near Birtley, turned her back on two different college courses after leaving school, before deciding to try an apprenticeship.

She went to Access Training who found her a business administration apprenticeship with leading North East manufacturer, Express Engineering. On starting work as an apprentice, Lauren said: “Something finally clicked – I found what I wanted to do with my life.”

Lauren is now studying for a degree in Leadership and Management at Northumbria University after sailing through her Level 2 and Level 3 NVQs whilst working as a sales administrator. Lauren is funding the degree herself through a government-backed Learning Loan. She will complete the course part-time whilst working at Express Engineering.

Lauren wants to tell her story to give hope to the thousands of young people who, like her, feel a bit lost and unsure of what the future holds after leaving school.

She said: “When I was 18 I started to worry because I just kept hitting dead ends and I had no idea what I wanted to do. When I found this apprenticeship I felt so relieved; I was finally doing something I enjoyed.

“I’ve got my sights set on a management role or starting my own business when I’ve finished my degree. The beauty of the way I’m getting my qualifications is that I’m still earning a wage and getting the all-important work experience at the same time. Without my apprenticeship, I wouldn’t be able to afford to do my degree.

“My advice to others who don’t enjoy college is to find an apprenticeship and see where it takes you.”

Lauren will study part-time for her degree over three years.

Lauren’s trainer at Access Training, Sue Tomlinson, said: “Lauren is one of many who we have helped to start a career and go on to do a degree. Apprenticeships not only open doors to work experience but also to higher education, if that’s what the learner wants.”

Access Training is an award winning training provider with offices in Gateshead, Newcastle and Chester-le-Street and has helped over 5,000 people start and develop careers. It offers apprenticeships at intermediate, advanced and higher levels in a wide range of occupational areas.

For information about management training call 0191 490 2377 or email info@accesstraining.org