It can be hard to trust your instincts, but for one Burntwood apprentice taking the leap of faith into the world of steel, his instincts were spot on.
Nathan Hitchcock started working for Steel Processing Midlands Ltd through the Ladder project after quitting college. He began in the warehouse almost three years ago and has since worked up to a position where he manages the company’s transport department. Nathan, 21, said it was hard to turn his back on college and decide to go down a completely different route.
“I went to Chase Terrace High and tried it in the sixth form, but it wasn’t for me,” said Nathan. “I also tried college and just didn’t take to it and left after one year. I felt dejected because I thought I wouldn’t be able to fit in anywhere and progress. I worked at Argos for around a year as a general picker and it was then that I started looking online at apprenticeships. I applied and had a phone call with an adviser at Performance Through People. They asked me to come and see them as they said they had something for me, working in the warehouse at Steel Processing Midlands.”
Nathan said he started off in the warehouse, working with the forklift truck operators, but it wasn’t long before he was asking for a more challenging role. He asked if he could work in the office, and they gave him a role managing the lorries that enter the warehouse. “I have completed my NVQ Level 2 in Warehouse and Storage, and I’ve nearly completed my Level 3,” he said. “It was great that I was able to talk to my employer about moving to a different type of work and that I had those chances.
“Apprenticeships are great for young people, you don’t get a full wage while you are training but this is actually good because your employer then has the money to devote to getting you to where you want to go. My parents are really pleased because they have seen a big difference in me. It makes you more confident and more mature because you manage your life differently according to work and the wage you receive. I have regular meetings where I’m told how I need to improve, but I also hear lots of good things – it makes you want to work harder to keep hearing those good things.”