Burnley Cadent apprentice, 39, helps bust myth they are ‘for school leavers’

A Burnley woman is busting the myth that apprenticeships are just for school leavers.
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Zuleira Bradshaw (39) joined Cadent’s 2022 cohort more than 20 years after leaving school.

Zuleira was looking for a more settled, hands-on, skilled career after spending most of her working life in factories, as well as time spent working overseas.

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So, four years ago, Zuleira enrolled on a plumbing and heating course at Burnley College, a decision that later saw her placed with Cadent for work experience.

Cadent's Zuleira BradshawCadent's Zuleira Bradshaw
Cadent's Zuleira Bradshaw

That work experience turned into an apprenticeship with Cadent – Zuleira is now working towards becoming one of the company’s ‘first call operatives’, one of the engineers who respond to gas emergencies.

She said: “I am a hands-on person and doing work like this really appeals to me – plus there’s the social side, you get to meet so many different people.

“I have a mentor, who I shadow on jobs, and we go to a brilliant training centre for our skills training, which involves a bit of all sorts. The support is phenomenal.

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"I was nervous about joining at 39, and as a woman in a workforce that is mostly men, but it just hasn’t been an issue at all.

“I know Cadent is keen to recruit more women into roles like this and I wouldn’t hesitate in encouraging people to do that.

“From the day I walked in, I’ve been made to feel very welcome and part of the team.”

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a recruitment drive on the first day of National Apprenticeship Week.

Last year’s cohort ranged in age from 16 to 45.

Jenny Moten, Cadent’s Network Director, North West, said: “We are very excited that this year we have opportunities for at least 55 apprentices. There will be no better time to join us – you’ll be helping keep people safe and warm in their homes, as well as being part of the North West and UK’s journey to a greener future, with hydrogen being introduced to local gas networks.”

More information on the Cadent roles available, and how to apply, is here https://cadentgas.com/careers/roles/apprentices