Jetting off to Dubai is all in a days work for Manchester apprentice

Working behind the scenes at Dubai’s International Air Show may not strike many as the typical day of an apprentice but that is exactly what 21-year-old Talia Sykes got to do while completing an apprenticeship with Manchester-based Virtual Human Resources.

Since Talia began her apprenticeship with VHR her career has gone from strength to strength and she has absolutely no regrets about giving up her college course so she could earn while she learned.

Talia, from Hasslington, Chesire, said: “I was at college but I wasn’t really enjoying my course. I decided that I wanted the opportunity to gain a qualification while I was working but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. However, there was a job on the Damar website which caught my eye so I got in touch with Damar and said it was something I’d like to do, I went for an interview and I got the job!

“I would really recommend anyone to go for an apprenticeship scheme, especially those who might not really know what they want to do or who might feel pressured into going to university and leaving with lots of debt. I’ve really enjoyed my time with VHR so far. I like the fact that no two days are the same and since I started I’ve spent five days in Dubai working at the Dubai International Airshow, one of the biggest air shows in the world which was an amazing experience. We had a stand there, alongside other companies working in the aviation industry and while I was there I even managed to bring in a new client. I was also promoted just before Christmas, so there is chance for career progression with an apprenticeship and its good being able to get used to the world of work but study for a qualification at the same time.”

Adam Coates, the general manager of VHR which deals recruitment for the aviation and automotive maintenance industry, said: “Since we started working with Damar we’ve taken on eight apprentices. We just felt that in the current economic climate and with the increasing costs of going to university there would be a pool of vibrant, young, talented people who wanted to get out to work and we’ve found this to be true.

“I’ve been extremely pleased with all the apprentices who have worked with us and I’d definitely advocate apprenticeships to any business. We’ve found some really great people and they’ve tended to learn very quickly and become a great asset to our business.”

Jonathan Bourne, managing director at Damar Training said: “Talia’s story is a great example of how apprenticeships can work for the apprentice and for businesses and I’m delighted at Talia’s success and the difference she and other apprentices are making to VHR.

“The apprenticeships that we offer are all real, paid jobs with training with supportive employers. Apprenticeships are no longer just about the trades – they are a way in to rewarding careers in a whole range of sectors and, increasingly, are a credible alternative to university for ambitious school leavers.”

Damar Training, which has seen a three-fold growth in business during the past four years and its turnover treble to nearly £1.5m, was one of the first training providers in the north-west to achieve the prestigious Training Quality Standard for responsiveness to employers needs. The provider currently has apprentices with more than 140 organisations in and around Greater Manchester, including law firms, accountants, several local authorities, the NHS and two FTSE 100 companies.

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