Apprentice Council

Our work is led by our amazing Council of current and recent apprentices. They bring a wealth of personal experience and knowledge to guide decisions about the Association's strategy and focus.

Wajihah Aroob

L3 Insurance and Reinsurance Apprentice, Aon

Wajihah started her apprenticeship straight from sixth form as she enjoys practical learning. She has always been intrigued by financial services and likes the fact that working in insurance helps people by reducing risk. She was a member of her school’s senior committee and enjoyed being able to help others through this. Wajihah is passionate about her arts and loves painting and drawing realism portraiture in her free time. You could also find her baking away or busy in the gym.

Humphrey Francis-Jones

L6 Surveying Apprentice, Savills

Humphrey knew that he didn’t want to go to university and preferred to get straight into work. He has enjoyed a lot of responsibility early in his career and will already have four years’ in-house experience by the time he gains his MSc Building Surveying degree. However, he has noticed the difference in social opportunities compared with his friends at university and believes that the Association of Apprentices can help fill that gap in the apprenticeship offer. Outside of work you’ll find him carrying out some form of exercise, whether that be running, cycling, or even sailing.

Zara Khan

L4 Project Management Apprentice, Walsall Council

Zara left school at 18 and went on to do work experience at Walsall Council where she was offered the chance to stay on and do a L3 Business Admin apprenticeship. After completing that, she moved on to her current L4 Project Management apprenticeship. She is the first person in her family to do an apprenticeship, so she knows how it feels to choose a different path rather than go to university. She was elected Chair of her local youth group, the Youth of Walsall, and led an award-winning knife awareness campaign, ‘Real Knives, Real Lives’ and was also a Senior Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Champion for a charity called Street Teams. She is currently a Senior Trustee and Risk Committee Chair for the British Youth Council, Black Country Area Lead for the West Midlands Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network and a Referral Order Panel Member for Walsall Council's Youth Justice Team. When she’s not working or volunteering, she can be found tucked away in a corner reading a good book!

Emma Nolan

L6 Software Engineering Apprentice, Thales

When she finished college, Emma wanted to gain workplace experience immediately, so an apprenticeship suited her perfectly. She enjoys the many opportunities the apprenticeship has given her and looks forward to what’s to come as she feels her apprenticeship could lead her into a number of routes in the future. She is a Greater Manchester Apprentice Ambassador and part of the YAAN. She is also a Digital Her role model for Manchester Digital, encouraging young women into digital careers. In her free time, Emma scrapbooks to wind down and plays a variety of games, sometimes with friends and family. It’s reported that her favourite is The Sims!

Nicole Seaman

L5 Operations & Departmental Management Apprentice, Abellio Transport Holdings

Nicole is gaining a range of experience as a Graduate Management Trainee in the rail industry but chose to do an apprenticeship alongside this because it gives the theoretical underpinning as well as practical experience. Having already been to university, she is a great example that apprenticeships are not just for school leavers and can also enhance your prospects at a later stage. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, she is an active member of the Women in Rail and Young Railway Professionals organisations. Nicole is a keen traveller and has already been to 21 countries, including one summer touring South East Asia.

Aiden Wakelam

L3 Senior Production Chef Apprentice, Mitchells & Butler

Aiden is doing his L3 having already completed a L2 Commis Chef apprenticeship. He loves cooking and therefore wants to become a chef. His apprenticeship has helped him to come out of his shell and his talents have been recognised as he has won a number of awards over the last few years – including the West Midlands Intermediate Apprentice of the Year in 2019 and School Leaver of the Year in 2020. He is continuing the remote learning sections of his apprenticeship as he hasn’t been able to gain as much kitchen experience during the Covid lockdowns. After hours, Aiden builds computers for himself and his friends – current tally: 5 and counting…

Simon Graham

L7 Executive MBA Apprentice, De Courcy Alexander

Simon brings experience that ranges from advocating for families at the Cambridge University Graduate Union to developing innovation projects in the automotive and energy sectors with companies like Air Products and Honda. For him, apprenticeship is about being able to take a different view, enabling people to become the best that they can be, giving companies the skills needed at this time of technological and social change and bringing forward talent that is currently untapped. It also gives an avenue for people like him to return to work after a career break, building up the confidence that can so easily be lost.

Jasmine King, Vice Chair

L6 Housing Policy and Practice Degree Apprentice, Flagship Group

Jasmine didn't receive much information about apprenticeships when she was at school but decided it was the right path for her as it allowed her to gain hands-on experience in the workplace while gaining a degree. She is a passionate advocate for apprenticeships and inspiring others to undertake an apprenticeship. As a sub-regional chair for the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network, she has spoken about apprenticeships at a number of careers events and recorded multiple podcasts. Jasmine enjoys socialising with her friends and bottomless brunching at the weekends, as well as long dog walks with her cockapoo.

Joel Roach, Chair

L6 Chartered Management Degree Apprentice, Microsoft

Joel spent a year at university before deciding it wasn’t for him; gaining an apprenticeship place gave him an alternative path to getting a degree and was the best decision he’s ever made. He thinks the Association of Apprentices can offer the social element and connection to a wider community that is often missing from apprenticeships. He is also a member of IfATE’s apprentice panel, ensuring the apprentice experience is at the core of the Institute's strategy, and has been responsible for holding induction sessions for new Microsoft apprentices over the last two years pushing to include sessions on culture, wellbeing, and inclusion for all new starters. He also sits on the board of Microsoft UK's LGBTQI+ community, supporting events which amplify LGBTQI+ voices and engage the community and allies at Microsoft. Joel has gotten into baking during lockdown – he would be very grateful to any baking apprentices who can tell him why his banana bread won’t rise.

James Sewell

L4 Professional Accounting/Taxation Technician Apprentice, PwC

James began working whilst in sixth form and enjoyed mixing work and study so decided an apprenticeship would suit him well. He’s a member of PwC's Reward & Employment team, supporting clients on a number of Employment Tax related matters. He has experience of supporting others to find apprenticeships and has a strong desire to help aspiring new professionals. He has also worked with both Future First and Tech UK. In his spare time, James loves working on his car and watching his favourite football team Southampton FC play.

Euan Wilcox

L6 Chartered Management Degree Apprentice, IBM

Euan knew he wanted to complete a degree apprenticeship while he was still at school. He feels privileged that he can work in a field he’s passionate about while also gaining a qualification. He always goes the extra mile, and while head boy at school he made led a successful campaign to eradicate plastic from the school canteen as well as meeting with his local MP to discuss climate change. He wants to use his skills to achieve positive change for apprentices and to create a network of like-minded individuals. When he’s not working, you’ll find Euan on his skateboard or listening to music (usually the most expensive vinyls he can find!).

Sophie Cooper

L6 Creative Digital Design Apprentice, Orange & Blue

Sophie completed a L4 Business & Admin apprenticeship in September 2020 and is about to embark on her L6 Creative Digital Design apprenticeship. She aspires to become a Brand Strategist in the future. She has a deep understanding of the apprenticeship sector, the policies and funding structures. She is a member of the West Midlands YAAN and feels strongly that apprenticeships need to be valued as much as academic qualifications. In her spare time, Sophie loves creative poetry, penguins and all the sweet treats she can find!

Qasim Iqbal

L7 Executive MBA Apprentice, HSBC

As well as recently completing an apprenticeship himself, Qasim has worked in the apprenticeship sphere for over 10 years (he is currently the Strategy & Governance Lead for Apprenticeships at HSBC). He is always looking for ways to promote apprenticeships and share his experiences, especially to the BAME community. He works with the Prince’s Trust and NCFE to help shape apprenticeships, traineeships and T-Levels. His hobbies and interests include sports, travelling and technology. He represents and plays cricket for HSBC and his local club.

Bradley Longford

L6 Professional Practice in Management Apprentice, Henry Boot Construction

Bradley has really enjoyed his apprenticeship and he has found that his skills and knowledge have developed further than he could ever have imagined. He sees his future at Henry Boot Construction and would like to become a Business Development Manager. He is passionate about apprenticeships and has been involved in helping shape the Association of Apprentices since the very beginning. He wants people to see the value of apprenticeships and to encourage others to take this route to career success. During the weekend, Bradley can be found supporting his local football team Sheffield Wednesday and his friends’ Sunday league side, Stannington Rangers. Bradley also enjoys attending music festivals and gigs and has seen the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs and Blossoms to name a few.

Simran Sandhu

L3 Assistant Accountant Apprentice, HS2 Ltd

Simran chose to do an apprenticeship to gain practical skills, relevant work experience and qualifications in her chosen field. She will be able to try all the different areas of finance and therefore find the section that fits her best. She plans to continue to do her L4 and eventually gain her CIMA qualification. She has worked at a number of different organisations and therefore has varied experience and knowledge of private sector organisations. Simran loves working out to stay healthy, and identifies herself as a shopaholic as she believes retail therapy is the best kind!

Courtney Short

L2 Customer Service Apprentice, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Courtney completed her L2 while working as a receptionist – she was the first apprentice in her department so it was quite challenging and then also had to deal with working in the NHS during the arrival of Covid-19. Because of her success and impact as an apprentice, her manager has now taken on another apprentice who will be mentored by Courtney. She wants to be an example of positivity when it seems the odds are stacked against you. Her alter ego is a karaoke queen as Courtney sings her way through life with a particular love of 60s, 70s and 80s music.

Le’Shaé Woodstock

L3 Digital Marketing Apprentice, Siren Search

Le’Shaé’s apprenticeship has enabled her to develop her skills and knowledge through first-hand, practical learning. She feels that many young people are ill-informed about apprenticeships and would like to be a spokesperson for apprentices, showing the success that can be achieved by choosing this route. She feels strongly that apprentices’ mental health can suffer due to isolation and lack of social opportunities, and therefore sees the importance of the Association of Apprentices. In her spare time, Le’Shaé loves cooking, Pilates and listening to podcasts from a range of genres (she even has her own Podcast called ‘Doing Better’).

The Apprentice Council is supported by a Secretariat, provided by the Founders of The Apprentice Voice:
Katie Fiddaman, Dexter Hutchings and Niamh Mulhall


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