MBDA apprentice Sam Ball, 21, addressed the Conservative Party Conference with a speech on the importance of apprenticeships.
Sam took to the stage at the conference in October shortly before the Prime Minister’s keynote speech. This amazing opportunity came about after Sam had given a successful speech the week before at The Skills Funding Agency and was put forward as a possible speaker by the National Apprentice Service.
Sam explains that the experience was amazingly nerve-wracking, but worth it.
“I was really nervous beforehand, especially seeing as I had only got back off holiday the day before so wasn’t as well rehearsed as I would like and was up late finishing off the speech.
“The couple of minutes before, when waiting to go on stage I was really nervous, but once I was up there and talking I felt okay as I knew what I was talking about and was passionate about the message I was giving. I wanted it to sound sincere and the positive reaction from the delegates also helped to keep me confident.”
During her time on the stage Sam talked about the careers advice (or lack of) she was given in school and how important it is that young people are not all pushed down the university path, but instead made aware of all the different options available to them so they can make decisions for themselves.
“I spoke about what my apprenticeship includes, and how not only is my degree paid for by my employer - but I am also paid to do it. I also spoke of the different opportunities that my apprenticeship has given me, such as meeting MPs, winning a national award, being actively involved in charity events and the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC),” she says.
“I finished by saying how grateful I am for the lifestyle that an apprenticeship has given me - I am able to afford a good social life, nice holidays, to run a car and I am also currently saving for a house deposit.”
Sam loves that her apprenticeship has given her opportunities such as this speech and was happy to receive a real positive reaction by the delegates. She also saw a great response on Twitter!
“It was brilliant to see apprenticeships being spoke about [on Twitter],” she highlights. “I definitely felt a real sense of achievement and was happy that my message was well received.
“In terms of gaining from the experience, I think every time you have to do something nerve-wracking like this it adds to your confidence, hopefully making you better at it the next time around. I also received an invite to see Number 10, which I am hoping to take up in the near future.
“This experience is just another example of the scope of the opportunities available through an apprenticeship,” she adds. “If I had gone to full-time university I would not be able to say I spoke at such a large event on live television or met the Prime Minister. In fact, if I had just been at full-time university I don’t think I would have had the confidence to even attempt such a thing!”