DfT, Apprenticeships, Phillip London

Phillip London shares how his apprenticeship set the foundation for a rich and varied Civil Service career: 

School was boring and, for me, University would not have worked. But that didn’t matter – we didn’t have much money, and with a parent unable to work (recently diagnosed with epilepsy) we couldn’t afford it anyway.  

The local boatyard was looking for an apprentice just as 15-year old me arrived asking for a job; workplace learning was complemented by time at an international boatbuilding college and lessons in key skills.  

Four-years of building and restoring classic wooden yachts and I had the beginning of a career, a formal qualification and proof that hard work was rewarded.  

I then applied for a AA-grade Coastguard role which was my first step into the Civil Service; without my apprenticeship I would not have stood a chance! I started answering 999 calls and after a few years I was an EO ‘mission co-ordinator’, responsible for 1000s of miles of sea.  

In DfT, I found more opportunities! I was able to move around the department with a variety of roles, learning new and interesting skills; legislation, finance, project delivery, leadership.  

A clear highlight was becoming Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary. My apprenticeship had led me to the top of the department, and my background and experience offered a different perspective. I’ve had a more interesting and varied career than I would every have imagined; and I’m sure there’s more to come!  

It’s often the case that apprentices have taken charge of their careers and chosen an apprenticeship for a reason. By employing one, you’ll likely find someone motivated, enthusiastic and willing to learn. And someone who, without seeking an apprentice, you would never have found. A different background, a different voice, a different point of view; just what you’re looking for!