To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week we asked our apprentices to talk about their experiences.
We have recently taken on four apprentices to work across our titles in West Sussex and are based at the offices of the Chichester Observer four days a week, while spending the fifth at Highbury College near Portsmouth.
Sam Dixon-French, 21, attended Tanbridge House School and Collyer’s College before working for a bicycle distributor.
Here, he talks about his first month in the job and why he opted for an apprenticeship.
"Shortly before I left college I saw a job advertised with a local bicycle distributor. Having been working in a bike shop at the time and not keen on going to university this seemed perfect for me.
"I worked there for nearly four years in a sales role, and while it was enjoyable I felt as though I wanted a new challenge. I didn’t want to continue in sales outside of an industry I was passionate about so I started looking at alternatives. Most jobs I was interested in required some extra qualification beyond A Levels but I didn’t want to go to uni. Having worked for four years I didn’t want to return to full time education or give up my financial independence.
"I began looking at apprenticeships as a way to become qualified while working full time and applied for the Johnston Press apprenticeship after seeing it advertised on the County Times website. I’ve always been a voracious reader and enjoyed writing so although journalism wasn’t necessarily something I’d previously considered, it complements my skills and is something I really enjoy.
"The scheme is great as it gives me an opportunity to become qualified while gaining invaluable work experience. It’s really helpful to be working alongside other apprentices as well - we can bounce ideas off each other and pool our knowledge. It’s really exciting working individually or as part of a team to create stories and it’s satisfying to see your name in the paper. The apprenticeship scheme is a fantastic opportunity and I feel privileged to be a part of it."