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From Universal Credit to civil engineering

Meet Al-nadeem, a civil engineer apprentice at O’Halloran & O’Brian in Southall. He shares a little bit more about his journey as an apprentice.

How it started

“Jobcentre Plus referred me to an organisation called PLIAS Resettlement – a recruitment agency specialising in construction. I had a one-year experience working as an electrician, but I didn’t have a qualification. PLIAS were very supportive. They helped me obtain my CSCS card and recommended I do an apprenticeship. They also told me about the Ealing portal (www.workealing.com), where I found and applied for this apprenticeship.”

Ealing Council acted as the broker between Al-nadeem and the employer, checking his CV, setting up an interview, talked him through some practical tips in preparation for the interview.

When asked about the council’s support, Al-nadeem shares: “I was really happy with the support I received. I found Sukh very helpful. He always responded to my emails and calls. I am dyslexic so I am terrible at writing.”

“Be open”

Al-nadeem shared that he had dyslexia during the interview. He adds: “Before I didn’t used to because I was a bit ashamed. When I spoke to Sukh, he encouraged me to mention my dyslexia at the interview so they could help me as much as they could. He reassured me that I was not going to get rejected because of it.

I have found it a bit challenging at times suffering from dyslexia. I would like to address anyone who has dyslexia or other learning difficulty – don’t be shy, come out, speak and be open about it. There is support available – if you don’t ask, you will not get help.” Al-nadeem was successful at the interview and started his apprenticeship in October 2022.

How it’s going

“I am enjoying my apprenticeship so far. I am loving it 100%. I hope I get enrolled to university soon so I can get the theory aspect as well.

This apprenticeship is important to me because I had a bit of a mental breakdown, so it’s a kind of a therapy and is helping me to not feel sorry for myself and have more ambition. I feel like if I didn’t work and had a distraction, I wasn’t going to get better. I don’t want to sit back and let depression take over me.

When I go to work it’s like my own kingdom. I have space and I don’t feel too much pressure. I do have tasks and deadlines but I’m not alone. I always work with one or two other people and it’s manageable.”

Final words of advice

When asked what he would like to share with our readers who are not sure about apprenticeships, Al-nadeem comments: “I would recommend people to do an apprenticeship – without a doubt. Have a go. It’s the best opportunity to get experience and qualification. Experience is highly valued in the industry but it’s really difficult to move from having a degree to starting a job as there is a lot of competition. If you went for an apprenticeship, you are already in the industry, plus you are learning. It’s so much better because theory-based with no practice can be forgotten in the longer run. When you combine theory and practice – it’s easier and you are also avoiding student loans.”

We are wishing Al-nadeem all the best in his future career!

Try an apprenticeship

Council’s apprenticeship team can help with finding you an apprenticeship – whether at the council or with a local employer. Contact us on apprenticeships@ealing.gov.uk or 020 8825 8486. 

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