For the current word nationally on apprentices look no further than those Alan Sugar attracts to his annual search for the best.
But locally, the best, the one-and-only and the most popular in Longridge for the past year has been Jake Catt.
The 18-year old’s six-foot-plus figure has become familiar in both school and church for pupils and worshippers in St Lawrence with St Paul parish.
Taken on through Lancashire County Council’s apprenticeships scheme – work based training programmes which lead to nationally recognised qualifications – Jake has taken to his new phases of work without difficulty, whether in school or church.
And he is now set to continue on this special learning curve with the CE primary school – he is a former pupil – which has taken him on for another year. However, he is not continuing with the church apprenticeship.
“He started officially with the school, but then we asked if he could help with some of our groups in church, and we would pay the school for him to be our apprentice too,” explained the vicar, the Rev David Anderson.
“He has been an excellent role model for the young people and has responded well to their different needs as he has helped with Brigade and other sections... and he has been one of the best makers of toast in the parish!”
So kitchen duties have obviously, on occasions, been part of this apprenticeship, but Jake has otherwise had a regular timetable to work to.
He is in school from 9am to 1pm from Monday to Friday, supporting, as headteacher Janet Redding explains, the children in their learning.
He then works with the Church Lads and Church Girls Brigade on Wednesdays from 6 to 9pm – “we have been really chuffed with his help!” exclaimed commanding officer Janet Redding – on Thursdays he has worked with the church youth groups from 4.30 to 6pm and on Fridays with youngsters in the junior choir from 3.30 to 7pm.
He said “I am really enjoying it all, and obviously it’s giving good experience all round having not known really what to expect. But I’ve learnt a lot so far and made good friends.”
Born in Longridge, Jake attended the CE Primary and Longridge High School before taking first-year A-level exams at Runshaw College.
He left after learning about the LCC apprenticeship scheme which would take him through Level 2 and 3 to be able to go on to university to study for a teaching degree and eventually teach sport.
Janet Cooper, headteacher at the primary school, explained how Jake started his apprenticeship at the school in September 2014 in a dual role with the church.
In the last school year he worked for 20 hours, mainly supporting the children in their PE lessons and in sporting activities. He has also run a nurture group during lunch times.
“This year as we prepare him for his level 3 apprenticeship, he has been based in Year 6 focusing on supporting the children in their learning,” Mrs Cooper said.
“He has undertaken one-to-one support and small group work and, as it has been agreed to continue his apprenticeship for another year, this work can continue.
“Although the church will not be continuing his apprenticeship, the school would like to take over and become sole trainer. Once completed, Jake hopes to then train as a primary school teacher in PE. Jake has been an asset to the school and a fantastic role model for our older boys.”
Once Level 3 is behind him, Jake is aiming for the University of Central Lancashire and a sports course with the ambition to teach the subject.
He has played football and cricket for the Longridge clubs, and already coaches Chipping FC under 14s in the Central Lancs Division 2 Juniors and plays for the seniors – coaching Thursdays, senior matches on Saturdays and the under 14s on Sunday mornings.
He’s already on his way!