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Apprentice Caretaker to Site Manager - by @ThatSiteManager

As I sit here in a school office with a lukewarm cup of coffee waiting for the final contractor to finish their job for the day, I began to think back to how I got myself here. The journey, the ups, the many downs and the blind leaps of faith along the way.

I'm 25. I manage half a dozen primary school sites, I am the named H&S rep for each school, a keyholder for each school and often, the first person to be called when an issue arises. It wasn't always that way, and I certainly never planned for this to be my career path.

At 16, I left school and mooched around for a summer before my mum moved me from Oxford to Somerset. From there I decided to pursue a Media qualification at college before becoming bored with the slow pace of the course and wanting to do something more hands on. Don't get me wrong though, I would LOVE to work in media in some sense one day. Anyway, I decided an apprenticeship was the way to go as my part time job as a gardener at a local B&B was not going to pay the bills once I needed to spread my wings. Rural Somerset offered little in terms of apprenticeships at the time.. No idea why, but it was scarce at the time.

I landed upon an apprenticeship for a Caretaker in a large secondary in a nearby town. I didn't think I would get it, nor did I think working in a school would be for me. However, I did get it, I did enjoy it, and I learned an awful lot.. There were highs, I worked alongside the resident Caretaker who had done the job for over 30 years, learning all the old-school tricks that could possibly be learned whilst laughing all day long in a 2 year span. I also learned a lot from the other caretaker who was an ex tradesman and equally old-school but not in quite the same way.

As an apprentice it is your job to learn as much as you can and I learned by asking questions such as; Why? What about? How come? etc. These sometimes were taken the wrong way by this person and as such, I was sometimes relegated to being a tea boy, and even sent home early so that I was no longer around to ask questions. No bi