George Carter worked as a lifeguard before taking the plunge into facilities management.
After college he moved with his parents to the United Arab Emirates but returned after a year and began working at a sports centre in Bromley in south-east London.
George applied for an apprenticeship with Nomura feeling many of the skills he developed in the leisure industry were transferable, including managing a building, interacting with clients and stakeholders and overseeing health and safety.
Just over four years later George is in the final stages of completing a Facilities Management Level 4 Apprenticeship with the global financial giant and apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training (CCCT).
George, 25, started on a Level 3 apprenticeship with the firm, which employs around 26,000 people across 30 countries and regions with divisions in retail, wholesale and investment banking.
“One of the selling points for me is that it was quite a varied and challenging career path and I was likely to encounter many different types of people and areas of work. Not only that, but Nomura is a massive company. Having the opportunity to get into one of the big firms in the City was a no brainer for me,” he said.
During his apprenticeship George has been involved in some big projects such as the tendering of major service contracts at Nomura’s head office in Angel Lane, running lifecycle projects and supporting the business to adapt its operations during COVID.
“I think the biggest challenge has been learning the nuances of facilities management including procurement, management techniques, health and safety, project works and understanding finances,” said George.
“I was quite lost on a lot of things at the beginning but through the apprenticeship I have quite a good handle on them now. The training and job experience have worked well in tandem to give me all the skills needed to go on and become a facilities manager.”
George applied for his apprenticeships through an agency. The agency helped arrange his interview with Nomura, which has run apprenticeships with CCCT since 2017.
He said: “I saw the opportunity and all the aspects within the job specification lined up with my personality and skillset.
“As soon as I started, I was assigned a mentor who has been absolutely fantastic throughout the apprenticeship. He has been brilliant, answering every little question I’ve had, so from that perspective it’s been amazing.”
George was equally complementary towards CCCT Delivery Manager Jerome Lecerf, who has provided his training throughout his apprenticeship.
“The teaching I’ve had at CCCT has been absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“I’ve had the same tutor throughout my apprenticeship. He’s been brilliant. Throughout my Level 3 and for the first few sessions of my Level 4 it was all in-person, and then it went to distance learning when we went into lockdown.
“Even though it had its challenges the support I had from Jerome was very good. He could have quite easily gone down the route of doing a lot of group sessions because I think he had a cohort of about 30 people, but he made the time and had one-to-one calls with us.
“There have been a lot of assignments on the Level 4 I have found a little challenging and he has supported me through them and given me the skills and knowledge to complete the assignments.”
George has no reservations about advocating apprenticeships and recommending them as a great way into a new career.
“I knew that whatever I did after leaving leisure that there was going to be an aspect of learning involved whether that was going to university, back to college or an apprenticeship.
“Apprenticeships are definitely worth it because I’ve seen first-hand, and with other apprentices I’ve met, that they work. You get all the benefits of learning and get job experience, and without the debt that many of the people I know who have gone to university have.
“I am a lot more determined and motivated, I definitely feel a sense of direction now I know what I’m aiming for. I can see where my career’s going and feel very proud as well.”
CCCT is part of Capital City College Group, which also comprises City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London.