The week has raced by and today sees the last day of National Apprenticeship Week. If you haven't come across NAW then check out our blog which has all the interesting data on what the scheme is and why apprenticeships are important.
To round up our celebration of National Apprenticeship Week 2017 here at Tempdent, we spoke to former apprentice James Nwaduba who is now studying dental surgery at Peninsula Dental School in Plymouth.
Tell us a little bit about yourself? Name, age, where you live?
My name is James Nwaduba, I am age 20 and I am from Croydon. I am currently studying my second year of a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery at Peninsula Dental School in Plymouth, so I spend most of the academic year there.
Growing up did you enjoy going to school? Did you consider studying in sixth form? What made you choose an apprenticeship instead?
“I enjoyed going to school and I continued on to do my A levels achieving good grades. That being said, I soon found out after being rejected from all my university choices for dentistry that this is not always enough.”
I chose to take on the Advanced Apprenticeship in Dental Nursing because I knew this would give me relevant dentistry experience. And further knowledge of the career choice I wanted to pursue. It also gave me an opportunity to earn whilst I studied.
Did you always want to enter into a career in dentistry?
Not always. I only decided to do so when I was about 17. Working as an apprentice at a practice gave me hands-on experience and convinced me that this was the career for me.
What appealed to you about becoming a dental apprentice?
I needed to know if dentistry was truly for me. I also understood that competition is brutally fierce for places in dentistry, as well as dental hygiene and therapy and other dental professional degree courses. Taking out the apprenticeship gave me extra qualifications and experience. It helped me stand out against students passing through the conventional route of applying straight from sixth form or college.
How old were you when you started your apprenticeship?
18 years old.
What area of dentistry did you decide to study?
What has your experience of training with Tempdent been like?
It has been very straightforward and easy. “Tempdent gave good and relevant teaching, in a relaxed and fun setting. I didn’t truly realise how much I had learned until I had fully passed through the course and saw how many certificates and qualifications I had gained.”
They also helped me and many of my cohort to find jobs for the apprenticeship which was very kind and helpful. I also like that at Tempdent you are provided with personalised, tailored help if you need it.
Were there any challenges you had to overcome during your apprenticeship?
At first, I struggled to secure a job but I eventually found one and it was perfect. Other than this my main challenge was managing my time after a busy day of work. Hitting the books after getting cosy in your pyjamas at 8pm on a weekday isn't a dream come true but sometimes this is necessary. Welcome to adult life! We all have to figure out the right balance for ourselves sooner or later.
Did becoming an apprentice change your life significantly?
Definitely. I now have a higher earning potential to support myself through university as someone who is professionally qualified.
My experience in my apprenticeship and from going to classes at Tempdent still hold firm as I am studying and treating patients in dental school now.
What do you think you would be doing if you didn’t study dentistry?
I haven’t a clue!
What would you dream role within the dentistry profession be?
I like the idea of working as general dentist in a practice over a long time and develop a good longstanding rapport with my patients. It is still early days for me right now, so this might change by the time I have finished my degree.