Lilley Deevey hosting the National Apprenticeship Awards

Former apprentice hailed in National Apprenticeship Week – for her amazing journey from university drop-out to national ambassador

A former apprentice who has gone from dropping out of university to speaking in the Houses of Parliament and hosting a national awards is being hailed in National Apprenticeship Week.

Lilley Deevey, now ‎Apprenticeship & Recruitment Co-ordinator for the Crown Worldwide Group, is being seen as a perfect example of what young people can achieve if given the right support.

Her passion for apprenticeship schemes began when she left university after only a year and eventually signed up as an apprentice at AstraZeneca instead. Since then she has helped to develop her new company’s Crown Aspire apprenticeship scheme and set up the London branch of the National Young Apprentice Ambassador Network.

“It’s a lovely story,” said Eileen Girling, Regional HR Director at Crown Worldwide. “Lilley has not only helped us power up our own programme but her passion for the apprenticeship system has also seen here speak in the Houses of Parliament and even host the National Apprentice Awards.”

Girling believes Lilley’s story proves that apprenticeships are increasingly becoming an alternative route into the job market.

“I honestly think that’s what apprenticeships should be all about - spotting and developing young people with real potential and real leadership qualities.

“There may still be an assumption amongst some businesses that apprenticeships are all about raw 16-year-olds; a kind of upgraded internship system.

“The reality is very different. In our experience at Crown Worldwide, apprenticeship schemes are rapidly becoming a valid alternative to university - a way of identifying and developing future leaders.

“The apprentices we take on will have gained at least three Cs at A Level and will be looking for further career development. It’s quite possible that the scheme in future could take people all the way through to MAs or doctorates, and that’s something we’d welcome.”

As for Lilley, a lot has happened for her in a very short space of time. “Starting an apprenticeship changed my career,” she said. “I’d been at university doing an unrelated subject and felt like I’d had enough after a year. I even headed to Italy for 10 months to take stock - which was a real experience.

“But since then I’ve not looked back. I’m passionate about apprenticeship schemes and it’s wonderful to be an ambassador. I want to help other young people get involved – and to encourage businesses to do the same.

“Hosting the National Apprentice Awards was a special moment, as was visiting the Houses of Parliament, and I’m very proud, as well, of what’s happening at Crown. Our first apprentices will start in September this year. They have an exciting journey ahead, too.”

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