A WOMAN from Appleton is encouraging young people to reap the benefits of being an apprentice.

In the run up to National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from March 4 to 8, Melanie Nicholson has explained how she excelled from apprentice to executive director by believing in herself.

Melanie started her career aged 18 as a dental nursing apprentice at Warrington Hospital which soon led to a job offer.

By the age of 25 she was a senior manager and became a director at 31.

Now Seetec’s Executive Director, Melanie said: "I absolutely loved my apprenticeship from day one.

"My friends who had gone to college had the same knowledge and qualifications at the end of three years’ study, but they did not have the same hands-on experience of working in a surgical or theatre environment.

"In addition to all of this experience I was gaining, I was also being paid a salary."

During her career Melanie has also trained, quality-assured or managed the training for tens of thousands of apprentices, who have much more varied opportunities than she did at school.

She explained: "Those who wanted to go on to university saw apprenticeships as a lower class of education.

"Apprenticeships are now seen as a serious career path, especially with the introduction of degree apprenticeships which enable individuals to progress their learning while being employed.

"My message is don’t get up every morning just to do a job, get up to do something you really enjoy.

"Be yourself, believe in yourself and aspire to be the best you can be.”