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My chosen route: Dan's story

There's something for everyone after GCSEs and you don't have to follow one path. 

Dan decided A levels weren't for him...

Started in Spain where I was born and raised; I had a lot of family problems. I went off the rails, as you do when that happens and was sent to live with my dad. I came to the UK only being able to speak English, not being able to write or read English. I was halfway through year 10 when I came here so it was exam time. I learnt how to read and write in English in 6 months and managed to pass my core subjects, but I came out of school not knowing what I wanted to do.

Dan's career journey

  • Royal Manor Arts College, Portland
  • Sports Coaching Level 3 at Weymouth College for a year, then left
  • Engineering Level 3 at Weymouth College (one year)
  • 4 year Apprenticeship in Engineering at FGP Systems, Weymouth where he won Apprentice of the Year 2018

What was your learning journey?

I was always good at maths and problem solving but I decided to go into sports coaching because I enjoy sports and thought that's what I thought I wanted to do. After a year on the Level 3 course I realised it wasn't for me.

At this point, I was going through another hard time with my family and living situation. I ended up living in a B&B for 4 months. It was small and I had no kitchen. I lived on pot noodles mostly. The college supported me through this time; they paid for my accommodation and I was entitled to food at college which helped.

What are you doing now?

I made good friends with a guy at college and his dad. They knew I was going through a difficult time and offered me a place to stay.

They both worked at FGP Systems and asked me if I had ever thought of doing engineering. I hadn't, but decided to try it. I started Engineering Level 3 at Weymouth College and I found I was a natural! My friend's dad suggested I finish that year and then if I still enjoyed it to apply for an apprenticeship at FGP Systems. I applied, did the test and passed!

I've just finished my 4 year apprenticeship and I'm on a very good salary now for my age. It was a total of 5 years with the year I did at college I completed in engineering. I was also awarded Apprenticeship of the Year 2018.

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