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Apprenticeships: The path to success

**For those wishing to find out more about our latest apprenticeship, please email training@lifecycleuk.org.uk or call 0117 353 4580**

September will be our final month with our fantastic apprentice, Joe. Over the past year he has completely immersed himself in the Life Cycle world, learned a wealth of skills and has been a hardworking and helpful member of the team.  So, what is it like being a Life Cycle apprentice? We caught up with Joe to find out.

I’ve tried so many things during my time here! I trained as a Bikeability Instructor, teaching children in schools. I’m now a fully qualified National Standard Instructor (NSI). I’ve been working as a cycle mechanic at the Life Cycle Hub, stripping down bikes and quality checking the bicycles that have been refurbished by prisoners. I’ve been assisting the Youth Workers at Life Cycle’s ‘Bike Generation’ project, which involves doing cycle activities with kids at Felix Road, Southmead and Lockleaze Adventure Playgrounds. I’ve also been maintaining the smoothie bikes and using them to make smoothies with the kids. Finally, I’ve been helping to lead some of Life Cycle’s ‘Over 55s’ and ‘Bike Minded’ group rides.

Life Cycle mechanic James with Joe, after he passed his City & Guilds Level 2

I definitely enjoyed doing cycle mechanics the most, but Bikeability teaching comes a close second. It’s nice to have a variety of things to do.

I applied for a Life Cycle apprenticeship because I knew it would be a great way to get into the cycle industry. Then when I read further into what Life Cycle do I thought it was awesome the way they help get more people cycling, through different kinds of activities.

Applying was quite easy - it was a simple online form. I just wrote about the previous experience I had and what I enjoyed doing. I did the Apprenticeship with Coachmakers as well as Life Cycle. They help you learn coaching skills and how to work with people. Their course is normally aimed at people doing football or rugby coaching but my tutor Vicky was able to tweak it to work with the Bikeability training I was doing and working with people across Life Cycle’s different projects.

I would say my biggest achievement is a tie between getting my City & Guilds Level 2 qualification and becoming a fully qualified National Standard Instructor. I feel really proud of both those things.

It’s hard to say what was most fun about the job – there were lots of great times! I guess when I was doing youth work, it was fun doing bike games with the kids. And they would get really excited after I’d taught them some cycle mechanics skills so they could fix things on their bikes.

There were some surprises along the way: I certainly wasn’t expecting to achieve my City & Guilds Level 2! I was thinking I wouldn’t do very much mechanics, but because it’s something I’m interested in and do a lot of already the team saw that and got me more involved in the mechanics side of things, as well as continuing to teach and do other stuff.

I’m looking forward to the next chapter. I’m going to work as a freelance Bikeability Instructor and a ride leader for Life Cycle in North Somerset, plus I’m going to apply for some part-time mechanics jobs in local bike shops.

My advice to people thinking of applying for an apprenticeship would be: You must be into cycling to work here! But also don’t ever feel you need to stress – everyone here is really kind and supportive. The more you put in, the more you get out… and who knows where it might lead!

Life Cycle would like to thank Joe for his hard work and for being such a brilliant member of the team. We are delighted he has decided to carry on working for us a freelancer and wish him the very best for the future. Well done Joe!

We are currently recruiting an Apprentice Cycle Instructor in Bristol – find out more about the role and how you can apply here. https://www.lifecycleuk.org.uk/jobs