Meet the apprentices 

Abdulhai Bismillah is an IT Infrastructure Technician Level 3 apprentice.

Apprentice Abdulhai Bismillah

What made you choose an I.T. apprenticeship? 
I first heard about the option of an apprenticeship during my A-levels from the school careers advisor. It immediately appealed; I could earn money whilst learning on the job, university didn’t really appeal.

What's an average day like?
There’s no such thing! You never know what the day will bring which is half the fun. I’m responsible for solving City Training Service’s technical problems such as forgotten passwords, viruses or email issues and installing and configuring computer systems alongside working on longer term projects for CTS, such as setting up software for departments.

What have you learned? 
Apprenticeships make you quite self-aware as you have to think about your strengths and weaknesses as part of your assessment. My time management and problem solving skills have improved enormously, through working to deadlines, as well as my technical knowledge.

What’s next?
I’m keen to specialise in networking and infrastructure if I get the opportunity to continue training.

Any tips you can recommend for others considering an apprenticeship?

Research carefully what you want to do. There’s no point doing an apprenticeship if you’re not interested in doing the job. I started with a Traineeship short course. It was the perfect way to get a better idea of what the course would involve and whether it was right for me, plus it gave me some much needed office experience, having come straight from school.


Bayley Sutcliffe is an accounting apprentice, studying for an Advanced Diploma in Accounting.Apprentice Bayley Sutcliffe

What made you choose this apprenticeship?

I originally applied to study creative writing at York St Johns, but changed my mind as I thought an apprenticeship might give me a better career in the long run. I went on the City Training Services website which gave me a great overview of available apprenticeships and thought the Accountancy apprenticeship looked good. You work towards AAT accounting qualifications which are well respected.

Tell us about your apprenticeship

It’s really is good! I’ve learned loads, things like bank reconciliations, asset management, cost accounting and bookkeeping. I’ve recently taken on managing procurement orders, setting up business accounts and comparing prices to get the best deals. The work is a lot more varied than I thought it would be and I’ve gained knowledge and experience that I can use going forward.

How do you find managing work and study?

The Accountancy apprenticeship is exam based so there is some revision involved but because you are putting into action what you learn everyday it’s not too daunting. City Training Services also give me time to revise for exams within the working day.

Any tips you can recommend for others considering an apprenticeship?

Do your homework. Make sure understand what the apprenticeship involves by researching carefully. Once you’re on your apprenticeship try and learn as much as you can, you’ll reap the rewards.

What’s next?

I’m hoping to stay at City Training Services as I really enjoy it, but if not then perhaps go on and study Accountancy, Level 4.


Davor Butkovic is studying for an ILM NVQ Diploma in Management and Leadership (QCF), Level 5.Apprentice Davor Butkovic

Davor has worked at City Training Services (CTS) for the past six years. He is team manager for Electrotechnical Installation and Electrical Engineering, managing assessors in these areas, organising their caseloads and tracking learners’ progress, assessments and reviews. He originally qualified as an electrician at CTS in 2004 and after a spell working in the industry, came back to CTS as a Progress Officer in 2011. He’s since taken a teaching qualification, completed his assessor’s award, and was promoted to team manager in 2014.

Tell us about your recent NVQ Diploma in Management and Leadership (QCF), Level 5

The ILM Level 5 NVQ Diploma in Management and Leadership develops skills in strategic planning, strategic change and business process design alongside leadership and management techniques. This qualification forms part of the ILM Level 5 Management Apprenticeship.

What have you learned from a personal perspective?

The qualification has given me the opportunity to reflect on how I manage my team and what I can do to improve they operate. The beauty of apprenticeship qualifications are the flexibility they offer. The qualifications are tailored around your job role ensuring that they help you with your day to day duties. You don’t just get a piece of paper at the end that has no practical value.

How have you found juggling working full time, managing your team and studying?

You have to be committed and disciplined with your time, but the knowledge you gain from the qualification helps make you

What’s next?

The new electrical regulation 18th edition course will be coming out shortly which I’d like to do.


Chloe Whelan is a business administration apprentice. Apprentice Chloe Whelan

What made you choose this apprenticeship?

After being made redundant from a retail role I decided to do something completely different. Through working in retail I learned that I love meeting people and working with others so the Business Administration diploma appealed as it will provide me with a qualification that involves customer service but also gives me the chance to learn a completely different skill set working in an office environment.

What have you learned whilst on the apprenticeship?

Everything from general office administration to digital skills. The role has involved theory, data protection, employment rights and responsibilities and diary management. I’ve learned a lot despite having been here just a few short months.

What made you choose an apprenticeship? 

I first heard about apprenticeships from friends. Everyone was very positive about their experiences and it spurred me on to looking into them as a career path.

Can you share any tips for others considering an apprenticeship?

Preparation is key. Research the companies that you want to work for and understand what they do, what skills you can bring to the company and what career progression might be available to you.

What’s next?

I’m hoping to progress onto the Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship here at CTS, however if that’s not possible I’ll be looking to carry on my studies with another organisation, whatever happens I feel I’ve got some great experience to enable me to take the next step in my career.

Conner Cadden is an apprentice business administrator.Apprentice Conner Cadden

What made you choose this apprenticeship?

I’ve always wanted work my way up in business, gaining experience through the workplace. People assume that apprenticeships pigeon hole you into a specific job but that’s not the case, the Business Administration apprenticeship is broad, providing plenty of opportunity to learn different skills and gain valuable work experience. It appealed as I’m not sure what I want to do yet. I also thought it was better to earn money whilst learning rather than take on debt, it seemed an obvious choice.

Tell us about your role; what's an average day like?

My time is split between the business development and marketing department at City Training Services, supporting their activities. I advise students on how to apply for apprenticeships and what they are like as well as undertaking general administration duties.

What have you learned?

I’ve definitely grown in confidence over the past year and a half and I’ve a much better understanding of business strategy. Learning whilst you are in the workplace means you’re always picking new things up. There’s no replacement for real hands-on experience.

Any tips you can recommend for others considering an apprenticeship?

Listen, be flexible and make the most of the opportunities presented to you. You never know how things can turn out and where your interests may lie.