Seventeen-year-old Beth Carwardine is showing she’s no lightweight when it comes to tackling an apprenticeship – because she weighs wagons for a living.
And Beth, from Darlington, says she owes her burgeoning career in logistics to a good grounding at Middlesbrough College.
She won a place as an apprentice with Cobra Middlesbrough, a road and rail terminal based in the old Middlesbrough Goods Yard.
Beth and her two fellow colleagues weigh all the lorries in and out of the North Road site, after the college fixed her up with a work placement there.
She said: “When I left school I did a few different things, but then I saw the NVQ course in logistics at the college and thought it looked interesting.
“As part of the course, they arranged the work placement for me – and I really enjoyed it. My work includes waving wagons on and off the weighbridge, handling invoices, logging orders and handling other kinds of admin.”
Cobra liked Beth too, and took her on. She’s now starting an 18-month apprenticeship with the company, and returns to the college one day a week as part of it.
Geoff Robinson, operations director at Cobra, said: “Beth is like a breath of fresh air.
“She is full of enthusiasm and learning more skills every day. We look forward to her taking on more responsibilities in the future.”
Beth is studying doing IT level 2 and Supply Chain level 2 at the college, and says she loves it there.
“They treat you like an adult and help you all the way through,” she said.
College principal and chief executive Zoe Lewis said Beth is a good example of a student who is following the apprenticeship route into an excellent career.
“We train around 1,000 apprentices every year at the college, and pride ourselves on our facilities,” she said.
“There’s a huge skills shortage in the UK at the moment, and apprenticeships are a practical and useful way to help address – it means companies can recruit the skilled young people they need to grow and prosper.
“We pride ourselves on our close links with local businesses and industry, and it really pays off with the support we can give to students like Beth – she’s done really well, and we wish her luck with her apprenticeship.”