Chesterfield News

Chesterfield’s rising stars spearhead campaign to promote local apprenticeships

Young people building their careers in Chesterfield have spoken of the benefits that apprenticeships have in paving the way for a prosperous future.

Speaking to Destination Chesterfield and the Derbyshire Times, the town’s rising stars expressed their satisfaction at not following the ‘traditional’ University route and gaining valuable workplace experience alongside their studies.

Abigail Dodd, Level 3 Apprentice Business Administrator at Rosewood Wealth Management, commented: “I don’t think I would have learned anywhere near as much at University or College, compared to the skills I have developed during my apprenticeship.

“The skills which I’ve learned on the job are incomparable to anything that you could learn in a classroom. Getting the hands-on experience, such as greeting and communicating with clients is unlike anything you could learn in traditional education.”

Woman sitting at a computer with the Rosewood logo behind her

Abi Dodd, Rosewood Wealth Management

There are currently more than 2,500 people currently participating in apprenticeships in Chesterfield. Participants were keen to highlight the key advantages of opting for an apprenticeship in the town.

Tom Zerboni, Level 2 Junior Estate Agent at Lime Living, believes his apprenticeship has given him the chance to showcase a high level of responsibility and maturity: “I’m already going out and showing people around properties. Working with a smaller company, I’m getting broad experience in terms of getting to grips with all aspects of the business and being able to help my colleagues.”

Man on the phone sitting in front of a computer

Tom Zerboni, Lime Living, Level 2 Junior Estate Agent

A common theme was how apprenticeships provide hands-on experience, whilst enabling participants to gain high-level qualifications.

Ewan Walker, Level 3 Mechanical Engineering Apprentice at MSE Hiller, said: “There is textbook learning, but also things that you can pick up ‘on the job.’ There could be something in class which you may not have much knowledge of, but as an apprentice, you’ve done it in the field, so you get a much better understanding.

“I’ve been able to go through the whole company and learn so many different things. For example, welding, centrifuge balance, fitting and site work. I recently got to visit Walkers Crisps in a customer-facing capacity.”

Ewan Walker MSE Hiller 873x466

Milena Vasileva, Level 7 Architecture Apprentice at Whittam Cox Architects, commented: “There are seven people taking part in an apprenticeship at our company.

“Alongside studying at University, I’ve also been able to develop skills such as time management, working under pressure, working at a fast pace, prioritising workload and decision-making. You wouldn’t be able to develop those skills as quickly if you weren’t working in the industry alongside your studies.”

Woman in peach shirt smiling and sitting at desk

Milena Vasileva, Whittam Cox, Level 7 Architecture Apprentice

Chesterfield’s apprentices contribute to the local economy by addressing the skills gap. As apprentices become skilled professionals, they meet the demands of the local job market, fortifying Chesterfield’s industries and supporting economic growth.

Gracie Stevenson, Level 3 Business Administration Apprentice at Peak Pharmacy, explained what attracted her to the town as an ideal location to launch her career: “Usually the big opportunities are in cities, and I hadn’t considered that there were potential opportunities on my doorstep as well.

“The business I work for recently moved to the new Horizon development near Markham Vale, which has brought all aspects of the organisation together, so to be part of that transition has been a fantastic learning experience. In the big cities, there is lots of competition, but Chesterfield is up and coming, and the route to get into an apprenticeship is probably a lot easier.”

Woman sitting at a computer with a notepad open

Gracie Stevenson, Peak Pharmacy

MSE Hiller’s Ewan Walker agrees that the town’s location and transport links is providing more investment and job opportunities, adding: “We’re a company which deals with organisations up and down the country, so being next to the M1 is a great base for us to get to wherever we need to be.”Further development coming up at Markham Vale will bring in more opportunities and jobs to Chesterfield, which will hopefully bring more apprenticeships too.”

Financial independence is an advantage of apprenticeships. Instead of accumulating student debt, apprentices in Chesterfield earn a wage while learning. Some roles currently being advertised in the town offer wages above £20,000 per year.

This dual benefit ensures that young individuals can support themselves financially from the outset of their career journey. What’s more, apprentices have the opportunity to work their way up the career ladder, and into higher-level and more highly paid roles in the future.

Rosewood’s Abigail Dodd continued: “The apprentices of today are going to be the leaders, teachers, and directors of tomorrow. In the financial advice industry, there is a stereotype that the majority of higher-level professionals working in it are older gentlemen.

“However, at my company, the two directors are women and are considered young for the industry. Our team of seven are all women too. With all the development taking place in Chesterfield, we need to make sure we have got the people to sustain those higher roles.

“Therefore, I think that it is crucial to have more young people taking on an apprenticeship, to get that knowledge and carry on the legacy that other people have had.”

Participants were eager to point out that being an apprentice in 2024 comes with a high level of responsibility from the outset. Whittam Cox’s Milena Vasileva told the panel: “There’s a huge point of interest around competency in our industry and showing visible proof of it.

“Relevant experience is certainly part of that, so being able to prove that as an apprentice, you’ve worked on several projects at a time will add to your competency levels.”

Want to find out more about the apprenticeship roles available locally? Head over to to discover more.

apprentice round table participants

Josh Marsh

Destination Chesterfield Coordinator (Investment and Marketing)

Email Josh
apprentice round table 2024

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