Now is the Time to Become an Apprentice

Now is the Time to Become an Apprentice

Exeter Airport’s new managing director, Stephen Wiltshire, backs apprenticeships as an ideal route to the world of work.

Stephen, who was appointed to the top job at Exeter Airport last year, began his career in the industry as an apprentice, climbing the career ladder over the last 30 years.

He was speaking about his experience at the start of National Apprenticeship Week which begins on Monday, 7 February. 

Stephen started his career as a technician apprentice with British Aerospace (now BAE Systems), at Filton near Bristol and says he would recommend the apprenticeship experience to others.

He added:

“My apprenticeship gave me a good grounding and understanding of the whole business. I was on a rotating department placement (usually 3-6 months) at a time for the first two years and was able to specialise in the second two years. I chose Air Traffic Control having spent time in internal and external quality control, the design shop, fabrication, plastic moulding, wing shop (they built aeroplanes) and assembly line.

“I would say to anybody considering an apprenticeship – jump at the chance and choose a strong employer that can offer a wide range of aspects to the apprenticeship – it’s like try before you buy!”

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 7-13 February and provides an ideal opportunity for those considering an apprenticeship to find out more and there’s plenty going on in Exeter to help people on their way.

Available to anybody aged 16 or over and not in full time education, apprenticeships offer an opportunity to learn whilst in paid employment and are increasingly seen as a desirable ‘next step’ for those keen to enter the world of work, whilst continuing to learn at a college or specialist training provider. Different levels of apprenticeship are available, together with funding (at the time of writing) to help businesses to pay for training and assessment.

An average of 200 apprenticeship vacancies are available each month within 20 miles of Exeter.

Exeter Works
Exeter Works & Youth Hub based in Princesshay in Exeter helps support apprenticeships

Councillor Rachel Sutton, from Exeter City Council said:

“Apprenticeships are a viable opportunity for people to earn whilst they learn. There are currently hundreds of fantastic apprenticeships available at some of Devon’s most well-known organisations.”

National Apprenticeship Week is a national week devoted to the promotion of apprenticeship opportunities, and Exeter Works together with Youth Hub Devon (providing advice and support to those aged 16-24), will be working to ensure that their information and advice can be seen by as many people as possible.

Rhian Hawthorne, who runs the Youth Hub said:

“National Apprenticeship Week gives us an opportunity to talk to individuals considering an apprenticeship as well as apprenticeship providers. Our social media channels provide the perfect informal opportunity for people to find out more about some of the opportunities and benefits. We’ll also be posting case studies on our website so that people can find out more in their own time.”

National Apprenticeship Week runs until 13 February. Find out more at and search for ‘Exeter Works’ and ‘Youth Hub Devon’ on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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