Year 13 student Felipe Guzman has secured an apprenticeship offer with National Grid that is probably one of the best of its kind in the country. He had to undergo a rigorous round of interviews and tests before being offered the training that combines working at the National Grid control room in Warwick with degree studies at Aston University. At the end of three years Felipe should be in line for a full-time job with enhanced pay and excellent career progression.
He said: ‘My dad is an engineer and it really interests me so I thought I would follow that career route. I thought it was a better opportunity than going to university because there are a lot of benefits. There was a long application form and an online questionnaire and interview. Then I was invited to a two-day assessment. That involved an interview that lasted for an hour I had to deliver a 20-minute presentation and take part in a group activity which was watched by 12 or 13 assessors! A few weeks later they phoned me up saying “Congratulations, you got the place.”
‘I will be working in the control centre and it involves the engineering side of the pipelines and the gas transmission system. It will be office based and I will also be travelling out to job sites. I will spend two weeks at the headquarters followed by two weeks at university. It is going to be quite a lot of work but as a company National Grid give you the support you need.
‘For the position I wanted they were only recruiting three people so the competition for places was intense. I don’t know how many applied this year but in 2013 over 16,000 people applied. The hardest part was the interview because you can never prepare for an hour-long interview. It is more about answering on the spot questions and your knowledge about the company as well.’
Careers adviser Mr Primmett said: ‘Apprenticeships can be a very worthwhile and interesting alternative to university and Felipe has secured probably the highest paid apprenticeship in the country. He was competing against graduates and he got it against some intense competition. They tested him for two days and it doesn’t get much harder than that. He has got a career for life if he wants it. To get that, at his age, is just an outstanding achievement.’