How an apprenticeship changed one teenager’s life

21-year-old Shah Alam from Essex found himself responsible for paying the family’s mortgage at just 15 years old, when his mother fell sick and his father became her full time carer.

He worked a number of low-paid jobs until his friend told him about apprenticeships. He said: “I was 19 years old when a friend told me about an apprenticeship scheme with an IT company called Optimity. I didn’t think I could do it as I was stuck in a cycle of working with limited prospects for the future. But when I went to chat to the company they were really keen to help. I signed up for an apprenticeship – the chance to earn and learn at the same time was too good to miss.”

He joined Optimity as an apprentice two years ago as a Junior IT engineer, studying two nights a week at college. Now he has completed his City and Guilds ICT Level 3 and is looking to gain Level 4.

Shah added: “I spend a lot of time with clients and can be sitting at the computer one minute setting up systems and the next installing equipment. It is the best of all worlds.”