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Twelve months ago, Katie Rees had never heard of an apprenticeship. In fact, she wasn’t entirely sure what career path she wanted to pursue after concluding her sixth form studies.
But the 18-year-old from Herne Bay, Kent, did possess an unrivalled passion for sport and helping young people reach their full potential through the power of physical education.
That passion led the former Herne Bay High School student to enrol with Ignite Sport UK’s full time apprenticeship programme, where she accepted a one-year apprenticeship as a PE teacher assistant and is working towards completing a Level 3 qualification as a Sports Teaching Assistant at Holy Trinity and St John’s Primary School in Margate.
Upon completion of her apprenticeship at the end of this academic year, the keen Netball player will enrol with Canterbury University and study for a degree in physical education and sports science.
Katie could never have imagined she would be going to university this time a year ago. But the opportunity presented itself thanks to her commitment towards Ignite Sport UK’s
blended learning approach to apprenticeships that combines on-the-job learning with face-to-face and online training.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Katie has encouraged other people to consider the value of apprenticeships and why ‘earning and learning’ worked for her.
“I’ve always been quite sporty, at primary school we had a teacher that inspired me to start netball and I’ve been playing ever since,” said Katie. “I now want to be that person I learnt from in primary school by translating my passion of sport to the next generation.
“Initially, I wanted to be a personal trainer. But I discovered that path wasn’t for me so instead accepted a one-year apprenticeship as a PE teacher and teaching assistant at Holy Trinity and St John’s Primary School via Ignite Sport UK.
“It’s one of the best decisions I have made. I never had really heard of an apprenticeship before applying, but my colleagues talked me through how it works and I’m delighted with what I have achieved.”
A typical day for Katie would entail classroom work in the morning where she will assist a teacher before delivering PE lessons in partnership with James Hood – the school’s lead PE teacher – in the afternoon after taking care of lunch duty.
As part of her apprenticeship, 20 per cent of Katie’s contracted hours are dedicated to education sessions with Ignite Sport UK where she works closely with Lead Tutor and Assessor Leigh Tomlinson.
Katie added: “My learning has been adapted slightly because of COVID-19, but in my eyes the pandemic has been good for my development as I am experiencing unprecedented scenarios within a working environment.
“The last year has taught me that I definitely want to be a primary school teacher. The support of James (Hood) and Leigh (Tomlinson) has been amazing and definitely helped me get my foot in the door to university.
“For anyone considering an apprenticeship, I would tell them to go for it – it’s one of the best decisions I have made.”
Based at Oxford City FC, Ignite Sport UK is a registered training provider for sport and education qualifications, working in further education, apprenticeships, and adult education.
On February 24th from 7pm, Ignite Sport UK will host a virtual open event via Zoom to provide year 11 leavers upwards and their parents or carers the opportunity to learn more about the company’s apprenticeships and the career pathways they provide.
For further information and to sign-up to Ignite Sport UK’s next virtual open event, visit: www.ignitesportuk.com.