Ben Richardson

It’s National Apprenticeship Week, so we decided to have a chat with a current apprentice, based at Autism Together, to see what he makes of the apprenticeship experience…

An apprenticeship offers people the chance to train while they work. They get a genuine job, with hands-on experience and a salary, employment contract and holiday leave too.

Open to individuals aged 16+ and not in full-time education, Autism Together has offered apprenticeships in its busy IT department for the past three years.

Ben Richardson, 19, from Ellesmere Port, is an Apprentice IT Support Technician at Autism Together.

“My job revolves around responding to and fixing reported IT problems from staff within the organisation,” explains Ben.

Before joining Autism Together, Ben worked for nearly three years as a Sales Assistant at Debenhams. He was looking for a new challenge and wanted to change industry before he was in his Twenties.

“I was always set on the apprenticeship route,” says Ben, “Because I feel the ability to both earn and learn is so much better than paying a lot of money to gain further education, with no promise of a career at the end of however many years spent at university.

“Apprenticeships were explained to us in Year 11 of high school and in Sixth form. I heard about Autism Together through the Apprenticeships.Gov website (they’re the best for finding apprenticeships). I applied with my CV and was given an interview! The rest is history.”

So, after 3 months as an apprentice at Autism Together, what are Ben’s feelings about apprenticeships?

“I would 100% recommend getting an apprenticeship with Autism Together, after a week I felt I had already known the staff here for months – everyone is so welcoming.

“I am learning something new every shift, whether it be IT-based or something completely different. Also, I am given plenty of time to focus on my coursework – I’m working towards a Level 3 Diploma in IT User Skills – which means I don’t have a feeling of being overwhelmed.”

For more information on jobs or apprenticeships with Autism Together, visit: https://www.autismtogether.co.uk/jobs-autism-together/ or contact the HR team by phone: 0151 334 7510 or email: recruitment@autismtogether.co.uk to find out more.