Ryan Howes, Gold Engineering Ambassador, Stocksbridge High School

Ryan is a graduate of the Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing programme at Stockbridge High School and won a Better Learners Better Workers Gold Ambassador Award 2016 for Outstanding Achievement. Now in Year 11 focusing on his GCSEs, Ryan believes that the programme has equipped him with the necessary skills for future education and work and has guided him towards his future career pathway.

He says, “The programme has made me aware of opportunities that I didn’t know were out there. By meeting employers, it helped me understand more about work and where it can take you. For example, I never really thought about oil rig work until I started this programme and I’m becoming keen on the idea of doing that.”

Ryan feels that he now has a keen idea on the sector where he would like to eventually work. He says, “I knew I wanted to work around larger scale companies that could take me up and down the UK and across the world, but the experience has focused me on engineering and the more practical side of working, which I enjoyed. I was really hoping for an apprenticeship with Yorkshire Water, but unfortunately I haven’t got there yet, so I think I’m going to study at college to get a higher level of education and try either to go back and do the apprenticeship or get a job there.”

Ryan keeps his Better Learners Better Workers Passport, which records all of his achievements on the programme, in his portfolio ready to take to interviews. He feels that the programme has changed him as an individual: “I’ve become more confident in myself; even by doing things such as carrying out this interview, I can see how far I’ve come. It’s also changed me in the way that I present myself. Before I took part in the programme, I never used to put myself out there because I was too scared of getting rejected. Now I can happily go and hand in an application and speak to an employer; if they say no, I realise that there are always other opportunities.”

Students have the chance to meet numerous employers during their time as a Better Learners Better Workers Ambassador, through workshops and events. Ryan says, “We learnt things such as how to dress for work, how to act around employers and how to present yourself in interviews. It was also good to be in front of actual employers with your peers.”

Ryan was able to put his skills to the test when he was asked to help organise the annual Get Up to Speed engineering skills event for education and employers. He comments, “My job was to help create a stall to promote the Better Learners Better Workers programme. Our school was also in charge of the entrance space.  I was given a team to manage the registration desk, so we had to register schools, VIPs and business owners and we had to give out information packs to certain people. Another party of Ambassadors from our school was in charge of the design of the entrance, how to model it and how it would function.”

The Better Learners Better Workers programme provides students with a two-week work experience. Ryan was given an opportunity at Numill, one of Sheffield’s foremost engineering companies that specialises in tooling solutions.  Ryan felt the work experience was the most enjoyable part of the programme: “I think that the actual hands on bit, the practical learning, is the bit that I learnt most about, which is why I am trying to get an apprenticeship and this programme has helped me to get there.”

Another highlight of his time being a Better Learners Better Workers Ambassador was being able to share his knowledge to help other Ambassadors: “I enjoy helping the younger Ambassadors, such as the Y9s and 10s, as I have now finished my course. If they ask me what to do, I won’t show them but I’ll try to guide them down the right route so that they can do it themselves. I like to think that I am helping them be the best Ambassador that they can be.”

Better Learners Better Workers