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Bradford College

Meet Kelli Brown: The apprentice who changed careers and is on a path to success

For our third and final success story of National Apprenticeship Week 2023, we interviewed the College’s very own Kelli Brown. Kelli has the unique story of both studying and working at Bradford College and she told us all about this opportunity and how it came about.


Bradford is a city which is, and always has been, rich in heritage.

There’s historical hotspots like the Alhambra Theatre, Salts Mill and East Riddlesden Hall dotted all over the district; and tucked away in the city centre is ‘Little Germany’.

Nestled within Little Germany’s narrow cobbled streets and old mill-style buildings, at the top of Chapel Street, sits Bradford College Apprenticeships. This is where Kelli Brown can be found.

An unintended opportunity

“It’s quite a funny story actually”, says Kelli, as she settles down to reflect on a life-changing 18 months with Bradford College.

“It was a recommendation from a family member, initially for my son. When he left school, we looked into apprenticeships and attended some events, but he decided on a full-time job.”

Kelli, a 37-year-old apprentice, currently both works and studies at Bradford College after years of working in the healthcare sector.

“I obviously stored all the information in my mind and months down the line, here I am”, she continues.“I’m fortunate to be doing my apprenticeship within the College – I feel quite lucky.”

Time for a Change

According to Government statistics, under-19s accounted for just 22.2% of apprenticeship starts (77,500) in 2021/22. This figure acts as proof that individuals like Kelli no longer have to remain in the same profession until retirement and can, instead, explore other avenues.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelli decided it was time to take the plunge and change careers. “I’m the initial assessment facilitator”, Kelli states.

“When someone applies for an apprenticeship, the first stage of the process is getting them in for an interview and going through the assessments with them.

“This is what I’m doing at this moment in time, as well as a bit of a varied role across the college.”

Being in Kelli’s presence, it’s obvious this enormous change has paid off for her. She reinforces this: “I’m a lot happier because I actually love the job that I’m doing.

“I never thought 12 months ago that I’d be leading reception or running assessments, it’s completely changed me.

“It’s a very busy role and completely different to what I’m used to, as my job in healthcare was quite a physical job.

My confidence has grown massively. I’m front of house, so I’m meeting and greeting people every day, which I love as I’m quite a forward person.

It’s been a really good career change for me.

Support along the way

As her role has developed and her workload has expanded, having the right support in place has proved integral for Kelli. On this support, she said with no doubt: “It’s absolutely amazing.

“There are so many different departments but I’ve got everybody on hand and my assessor is in the same building as me.

“There’s people like Nicky (Betteridge), Kelly (McAllister) and Charlotte (Wood) and if I’m struggling with anything at all, they’re there.

“The support that they, and the assessors, have given to me is next to none.

“Everybody’s just so supportive and I’m never afraid to ask because at the end of the day, I’m still an apprentice.”

Top tips

So as an ongoing success story, what words of wisdom did this Level 3 Business Administration apprentice have to share?

1. Willingness to learn – if you’re going to do an apprenticeship, you need to be willing to learn and willing to give everything a go. That’s priority one.

2. Stay focused – if you don’t stay focused, you could quite easily give up.

3. Enjoy it – I’d also say just enjoy it, because it’s a great learning curve and I think it’s the best way to further your education.

“Earning while you’re learning is fantastic, especially when you’re supporting a family like myself.”

It’s never too late to seek new qualifications or change your path, and if anyone ever tries to tell you otherwise, share with them Kelli’s story.

Are you interested in an apprenticeship? Has Kelli’s story inspired you to pursue a similar path? Follow the links below to find out how to get started.

Published: 10th February 2023
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