From stacking shelves to micro engineering

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Proving a dramatic change in career direction is possible long after leaving school, a retail assistant has swapped stacking shelves for micro-engineering.
Joshua Burns, 25, from Whitemoor, St Austell, had long lamented being unable to go to college after school and often spoke to his wife about his dreams of being an engineer rather than a shop assistant.
As the frustration mounted, Joshua decided to do something about it and went through a college prospectus with his wife and found a course that ticked all the boxes, Engineering Level 2 at Cornwall College St Austell.  
“I wasn’t fortunate enough to go to college when I first left school and had to spend a number of years working in food retail doing a job I wasn’t interested in and quite honestly, disliked,” he explained.
“I contacted the College and they were really helpful and pointed me in the right direction. That’s the great thing about college; it gives you the qualifications and experience to make something of yourself.” 
As a mature learner Joshua is self-funding the course and has fitted it alongside his work, he is also re-taking his Maths and English.
Joshua’s effort and interest didn’t go un-noticed and soon he was on the radar for one of the many apprenticeship opportunities available in Cornwall. 
After a successful work experience with Flann Microwave Ltd, the firm hired Josh full time as an apprentice using micro engineering to make components that release microwave signals. Josh has now finished the full time course three months early, before potentially moving on to the Level 3 Engineering Apprenticeship.
Engineering lecturer, Luke Bazeley, said he was thrilled for Joshua, adding it helped that the College has “great relationships” with local employers. 
“These partnerships mean we can really work with students in the areas they most enjoy to stretch them professionally and ultimately help them achieve an apprenticeship in their chosen areas,” he continued.
“This is a plus for the employers as they are receiving students who already have a good understanding and the right attitudes towards work.”
Joshua added that even if you might be returning to college as a mature student, “don’t let that put you off”. 
“It is a fantastic and positive experience and I would recommend it to anyone,” he added. 
For more information on the range of Apprenticeships available across The Cornwall College Group visit or call 0330 123 2523.