A picture of Neil's story

It wasn’t until he was 32 years old that Neil started an accountancy apprenticeship with Sanctuary, going to show that you can start at any age.

“I would like to think that I am living proof that you don’t have to necessarily be just out of school or college in order to be an apprentice. I suppose you could say I see myself as the face of the older apprentice.”

It was at the age of 21 that Neil decided to go back into education. Having not gained the GCSE results he wanted at school he started studying for a BTEC National Diploma in Business at Worcester College of Technology, which he completed at 24 years old.

Although he’d received an unconditional offer for Newcastle University, Neil found out very quickly that university life wasn’t for him so went on to work in temporary roles for a variety of employment agencies and then for Totepool at a range of big race meets across the country.

It was after this, in late 2015, that Neil successfully applied for Sanctuary’s apprenticeship scheme.

“I knew I wanted to do an apprenticeship because it gives me the opportunity to both earn and learn at the same time while also gaining a professional qualification as well.”

His first role at Sanctuary was an accountancy apprentice within the Housing Benefit Posting Team. His role entailed entering payment schedules, entering notifications regarding current housing benefit eligibility and contacting local authorities to chase up payment schedules if not received on time.

As part of his apprenticeship, Neil is now working within the community investment team, which involves compiling evaluation and feedback forms for various community projects, sending design briefs to the design team for promotional posters, booking travel requirements and researching for potential projects.

“I will always be grateful to the Sanctuary apprenticeship scheme for giving me the opportunity to show just what I could do given the chance. I would definitely recommend a Sanctuary apprenticeship to others and would encourage them much like I have to embrace every opportunity that comes their way by means of being an apprentice.”

While at Sanctuary, Neil has taken on the role of an Apprentice Ambassador for the West Midlands Young Apprentices Ambassador Network, which requires promoting apprenticeships to school or college leavers. He has been given the opportunity to present to students at a local school and has been invited with others to an apprentice reception at the House of Commons with the Minster for Apprenticeships.