Meet trading standards apprentice Matthew

For those with their sights set on a career change, or who want to venture into work after fulltime education, apprenticeships may be the choice for you.

They can offer opportunities in dozens of different professions in North Yorkshire - from working as a Senior Leader in a school, to starting a career in IT or health and social care. We spoke to one apprentice Matthew Dixon, on how it’s helped him take his first steps into an interesting career.

Matthew Dixon, 18, gets to experience a wide variety of work environments in his trading standards apprenticeship with us.

Since starting his apprenticeship in July last year, he has worked with a Multi Agency Safeguarding Team dealing with cold callers and vulnerable victims of doorstep crime, joined teams searching for counterfeit goods and attended court to see the end result of a serious investigation.

His job can take him anywhere from making sure petrol storage tanks meet safety regulations at service stations to checking animal welfare among livestock at auction.

“I knew I didn’t want to go to university because after going through school and sixth form I felt like I wanted to have a proper go at working and do something practical, rather than continuing with fulltime study,” he said.

“I found out about this apprenticeship in 2018 during an open evening at County Hall. I had looked around a few different apprenticeships and thought trading standards sounded interesting.

“I’ve been able to work with different teams with trading standards; I found working on counterfeit goods really interesting, they can range from everything from clothing to cigarettes, pillow cases or furniture. The counterfeit industry can affect the whole economy; especially local businesses if someone is offering counterfeit goods down the road. There’s quite strong links between counterfeit items and organised crime.

“It’s an interesting industry to work in.

“I get to study for qualifications while earning money and avoiding the debt I would have if I went to university. I would definitely recommend this to anyone.”

Matthew is studying for a Level 4 apprenticeship in Regulatory Compliance, which provides a foundation qualification for anyone interested in a career in regulation in both the public and private sectors in areas such as trading standards, environmental health and licensing.

It is one of a wide variety of apprenticeships which can be provided by North Yorkshire County Council, designed to suit those who have just left school, college or university, to people wanting a career change later in life by allowing people to learn and earn at the same time.

The County Council provides opportunities to train in its schools; in qualifications ranging from teaching assistants, lab assistants and business support staff, right up to Level 7 / masters level apprenticeships for potential headteachers and deputy heads. There are other opportunities on offer to train in adult health and social care, IT, finance, care leadership and management and business administration and legal services.

Matthew’s route into trading standards means he will have qualified to level 6, or degree level, by the time he has finished.

His manager, James McCluskey, divisional officer with trading standards at the County Council, said: “We decided to offer this apprenticeship as fewer universities are offering degrees in this industry and UK-wide there were a lack of entry points into this profession.

“We needed to think about creating more opportunities to train up the next generation and an apprenticeship allows for the kind of structured, hands-on training that will give us an officer with the skills, knowledge and experience for the 2020s and beyond.

“It also allows us to recruit, develop and retain our own staff within the public sector.”

Find more information about becoming an apprentice with us, alternatively, email apprenticeships@northyorks.gov.uk or call 01609-535532.