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National Apprenticeship Week 2024

NEC is an apprenticeship levy paying employer and employed 18 apprentices across our offices in the UK last year. From Customer Service to Biometrics to Finance, our apprentices work in different areas of our business.

By offering apprenticeships we aim to help individuals develop the skills and knowledge they need, in an innovative and inclusive environment so they can pursue a rewarding career.


Is there such a thing as being too old for an apprenticeship? Apparently not. Helen shares her experience for those who think they are too old for an apprenticeship. Read more…

Think you’re too old? Apply anyway!

When I applied to be a Modern Apprentice at NEC, it was not long after my 27th birthday. and I had been signing on for a little under a month following a near two-year stint as a carer for a family member over the lockdowns. I applied thinking it would be nice if I got the job, the same way I look at expensive houses. Wishful thinking, but completely unobtainable.

I thought at 27 I would be too old to be an apprentice. I couldn’t have been more surprised when I was invited for interview and later offered the role.

When I started, I was nervous. The 2nd oldest apprentice at my in-college session was in her early twenties and she felt too old to be an apprentice. I was easily six years older than her. If she felt old, I felt ancient.

But I shouldn’t have worried. My age was never a focus in my apprenticeship. Instead, my interest in learning, my work ethic, that I’m a team player, and on occasion that I’d made a mistake while learning on the job, these were the focus points during my apprenticeship.

I have felt included in my team from day one. I have received plenty of encouragement, feedback and mentoring throughout, not just from my sponsor, but from every member of my team and my assessor at college as well. I was introduced to the other departments in CST while an apprentice and have good relationships with colleagues from different desks who have also passed on tips that have helped me to succeed.

I learned a lot of things during my apprenticeship about Cyber Security, IT and Customer Service, but most of all I learned what matters and what really doesn’t. And being 27 when you start your apprenticeship doesn’t matter.  So, apply. Even if you’re not sure. Even if you think you won’t fit. Even if you’re embarrassed to even be applying for an apprenticeship ‘at your age’. Do it anyway.

I got a job out of doing it anyway, a job at a place where they want you to do well, want to invest in you, want to promote their best from within and see them succeed in their careers. I also got self-respect. My own earnings coming in every month. I got to know people who I would genuinely consider friends who I wouldn’t have met otherwise, if I didn’t just apply anyway.

Anyone can be an apprentice. There is no upper age limit on wanting to learn and experience something new and having the drive to improve yourself. I am so glad I applied to be an apprentice at NEC against my own better judgement. I would encourage anyone who feels too old or that they’re ‘past the point’ of doing an Apprenticeship to apply. Age is such a small factor against character, drive, and interest.




This National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 February) we asked our apprentices what they thought about their apprenticeships at NEC.  You can read all about it here.

Our Modern Finance Apprentice Safia has found her apprenticeship to be a rewarding journey that has laid a solid foundation for her career. “Embarking on my accounting apprenticeship at NEC has been an exhilarating journey. I have gained valuable insight into the practical aspects of financing from working alongside seasoned professionals and the opportunity to apply accounting knowledge to real-world scenarios. My apprenticeship at NEC has provided me with a supportive learning environment and exposed me to various accounting applications which has contributed to increasing my practical and theoretical knowledge. This has been a very rewarding journey to embark on and has laid a solid foundation for my future. Overall, NEC has proven to be not just a workplace for me but a nurturing space where l can flourish.” – Safia



Helen completed her Apprenticeship with NEC in December and is now full-time Service Desk Analyst with NEC. “My Apprenticeship experience has been terrific start to finish. I have been made to feel like a full member of the team since day one by both management and colleagues alike. I have received great feedback from both colleagues and customers throughout the apprenticeship that has contributed to my development. When I began my Apprenticeship, I had no prior experience in the IT industry. Now I have a skillset relevant to my industry that is packed full of transferable skills, that I’m looking forward to taking into my new role. I feel positive when I think about my future career at NEC. I had plenty of support from my colleagues and my assessor at college all throughout my Apprenticeship. I am really happy that I applied to be an Apprentice here.” -Helen



“I was an apprentice with NEC from 2017-2018. This was my first ever job and I had no idea what to expect however I have found the management and colleagues to be a pleasure to work with and they have helped me grow in confidence to where I am now. I started in entitlement services on our Local Welfare provision department. As an apprentice at NEC, I worked on several entitlement services contracts such as Blue Badge and HGV. This was great for my development, and I believe it set me up to get my full-time position with the company. I was an apprentice for a year before gaining a full-time position with the same team as a customer service advisor. The Entitlement Services team ensured I had all the tools to be a very good candidate for any future full-time roles. I have now been with NEC for almost 7 years and have moved up to Senior Customer Service Advisor. Not only does NEC set you up to be successful in their company but teaches you valuable skills that are transferable to any other jobs out there”. – Rebecca



“Since joining NEC in September, I have met and worked alongside very experienced and knowledgeable individuals. NEC has given me the opportunity to learn valuable new skills and discover new passions whilst earning money. I have worked with many different departments and products which has helped me to develop my communication and problem-solving skills. Completing an apprenticeship has created a picture of what a workplace looks like and how to navigate this as a young person. Something I love about NEC is that apprentices are made to feel equal to those who are full time and already qualified – this has made settling in so easy. NEC has helped me to start building a long-lasting career in a supportive and friendly environment. So far, I have had an incredibly positive experience, and I am looking forward to what comes next!” – Lucie



“My experience at NEC so far has been utterly amazing. The team I work with are so supportive and kind and I feel like I always have help when I need it. My day-to-day changes regularly which I love, it keeps the job feeling fresh and makes me look forward to each day at work. One day I can be in our office working alongside other likeminded people enjoying a complimentary hot chocolate the next day I could be working from the comfort of my home using technology and skills provided by the company. To say I’ve been lucky enough to find a one in a million apprenticeship would be an understatement”. – Jordan