Ambitious learners all set their sights so high

"Your fired" are the words everyone dreads to hear from Amstrad millionaire Sir Alan Sugar.

"Your fired" are the words everyone dreads to hear from Amstrad millionaire Sir Alan Sugar.

But this fabricated world of apprentices and a dreaded boss is far from the reality of our apprentices.

They went into their jobs from school or university, following in their parents footsteps or just trying out something new.

We found out what made a group of apprentices across the region apply for the jobs they are in, who they would fire, what they wanted to do when they were little and where they hope their apprenticeship will lead.

The BAKERS

Michael Heads, 17, of Byker, Newcastle.

Dad also Michael, 46, is a general assistant at Sainsbury's, mum Michelle, 41, is a sales assistant at Sainsbury's and sister Sarah Jane, 23, is a supervisor there. After GCSEs, Michael went straight into his Greggs apprenticeship.

Typical duties

Collecting products for test bakes, testing products, audits, checking for breakages, phoning shops asking about quality of products.

What is your ambition?

To pass my apprenticeship with NVQ level 3 and become a baker where I can rise to the top!

Why did you decide to do this job?

I thought it would give me knowledge of a job I really wanted.

What is the best thing about what you do?

Transferring from different departments and finding out about all the aspects of the company. They are a good group of people to work with. The staff have helped me to settle in.

The worst thing about what you do?

There is a lot of pressure due to deadlines.

Who would you fire and why?

I would fire someone who disrupted other workers.

Who is your ideal boss?

My ideal boss would be me, because I would like to show what I am capable of, because I am ambitious and hard working.

Who would you hire?

I would hire the manager of a competitive brand so we could get information on production lines to improve my knowledge.

What is your ideal position?

I would like to work my way up and become a factory manager

If you were a ruler for a day what would you do?

Let people have an early finish.

What did you want to be as a child?

I always wanted to be a footballer.

Daniel Clyne, 17, lives in Lemington.

His dad Ian, 46, is a freelance photographer, mum Kay, 42, is a teaching assistant at Montagu Primary School and brother Gregg, 19, is a barman at West Denton Social Club. After GCSEs, Daniel began working at Greggs.

Typical duties

Cutting doughnuts, preparing products for decorating, decorating cakes and wrapping cakes ready for the dispatch, to go to the shops.

What is your ambition?

To become a manager.

Why did you decide to do this job?

I've always wanted to work in a job that is hands on and get a professional qualification.

What is the best thing about what you do?

I learn about all the different departments in the bakery. There is also a great deal of machinery that I take responsibility for.

The worst thing about what you do?

Sometimes the work can be repetitive.

Who is your ideal boss?

Kevin Watson, supervisor in the savoury department, because he makes the work environment fun.

Who would you fire and why?

Anyone who doesn't put in their fair share and doesn't prove to be a team player.

Who would you hire?

Anyone who has a good attitude towards their work.

What is your ideal position?

I would like to work my way up to management status in Greggs.

If you were a ruler for a day, what would you do?

Give everyone a half day.

What did you want to be as a child?

I always wanted to be a policeman.

The MECHANIC

Kristian Paylor, 18, of Winlaton Mill, is a trainee mechanic at Benfield Renault in Newcastle.

His dad Phillip, 43, is a Toyota mechanic, mum Joanne, 42, works at the MetroCentre, brother David, 20, also works at Renault and Dominic, 14, is at school.

After GCSEs, Kristian became an apprentice and did a mechanics course at Newcastle College.

Typical duties

Accompanying staff on car services, diagnostic work; pre-delivery inspection; making sure everything is working, wheels are tight, colours match and make sure cars are road ready, replacing front brake pads and discs, sales jobs and getting cars from pitch, making sure cars are in top condition before sales.

What is your ambition?

To become a qualified mechanic. Having studied mechanics at college, and because I'm enjoying my apprenticeship so much, it would be great. Also win the Apprentice of the Year award.

Why did you decide to do this job?

I worked alongside my dad when I did my work experience at school. I really enjoyed it and realised it was something I'd like to pursue.

What is the best thing about what you do?

I enjoy the daily challenges, as you never know what is going to come into the garage, and you never know in what state! I also enjoy learning the tricks of the trade, as they don't teach these in college.

The worst thing about what you do?

I really enjoy every aspect of my job, even the cleaning.

Who would you fire and why?

Anybody who doesn't pull their weight. I can't stand it when you are putting effort in and somebody working with you is plodding along. Why should I have to work harder to make up for them slacking?

Who is your ideal boss?

Somebody who encourages me and creates a good working environment. I have my ideal boss in Graeme Keddy.

Who would you hire?

Somebody who is as enthusiastic and committed as I am. I wouldn't hire people who aren't willing to put the effort in, or people who do not want to learn new skills.

What is your ideal position?

Fully trained technician.

If you were a ruler for a day, what would you do?

I would make beer free for everyone!

What did you want to be as a child?

A footballer.

What does the future hold?

I would like to think that I could maybe set up my own business in the auto trade one day. First of all, I need to continue working hard, but you never know what's going to happen a few years down the line.

The PR executive

lucy McGonigle, 22, of Heaton, Newcastle, is an apprentice public relations executive.

Her dad Morris, 55, is deputy headteacher at Tweedmouth Middle School, Berwick, Northumberland; mother Sandra, 49, is a teacher at Berwick Middle School and brother Mark, 25, is a personal finance adviser at Berwick.

After A-levels, Lucy went to Northumbria University where she did a degree in communications, graduating in 2006. After work placements at Vogue, Tyne Tees and Golley Slater, she joined the company as a junior account executive.

Typical duties

Reading through daily papers to check for news stories, client meetings, helping to build relations and devise and deliver PR plans, press release writing and media liaison.

What is your ambition?

To be an inspiration to others.

Why did you decide to do this job?

I am a very social person and when I got to university I became more aware of the industry and what it could offer me as a career. After a six-week placement with Golley Slater, I realised that PR was the career for me.

What is the best thing about what you do?

The variety! No one day is ever the same and it is not always easy to get a busy journalist to take an interest in your product or idea. However, there are so many different elements to my job that I experience a new set of challenges to overcome every day and when I see good quality press or broadcast coverage for my clients in top publications, I never fail to feel rewarded for my hard work.

The worst thing about what you do?

We work on very tight deadlines for different clients, depending on the publications we are working with, which certainly adds a sense of urgency to the day.

Who would you fire and why?

I would fire Piers Morgan again! I appreciate he's a very good newspaper editor, but he's just a bit too pompous for my liking!

Who is your ideal boss?

Richard Branson, because he is ambitious, talented and has built up his own empire from scratch. He has always inspired me.

Who would you hire?

Matthew Freud, because he is a PR guru with an excellent reputation and a shrewd businessman to boot.

What is your ideal position?

I would like to work my way to the very top of the industry some day, but I will always be happy as long as I am set new challenges to overcome.

If you were a ruler for a day, what would you do?

Give everyone the day off!

What did you want to be as a child?

I changed my mind every week. I loved Kylie as a child, so went through a phase of wanting to be a pop star, then I wanted to be an actress like Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot. As I grew older, I wanted to be a vet. I've certainly taken a very different career path.

The joiner

david morrison, 18, of Gateshead, is an apprentice joiner with Persimmon Homes.

After leaving Heworth Grange Comprehensive School, he joined Persimmon Homes to train as a carpenter and joiner.

Typical duties

I help a joiner perform various carpentry tasks, including first fixing, second fixing, roofs and so on.

What is your ambition?

To qualify to be a joiner.

Why did you decide to do this job?

When I was at school, I carried out some work experience with a joiner who is a family friend.

What is the best thing about what you do?

The best part of my job is that it is very varied, so I get to perform different tasks throughout the day. No two days are the same.

The worst thing about what you do?

There is not really anything I don't enjoy about my job at the moment - I'm just really enjoying being outdoors and doing good work every day.

Who is your ideal boss?

Keith Doherty, a site manager, has been fantastic.

Who would you hire?

I would hire people who have the desire and ambition to succeed in the construction industry and who would care about the work they produce. Without a passion for the work there is no real reason to hire that person.

What is your ideal position?

I would like eventually to be a manager.

If you were a ruler for a day, what would you do?

I'd create more apprentices - they are really important to the future of the industry and the number of people learning a trade is decreasing.

What did you want to be as a child?

I wanted to become a racing driver, driving Formula 1 cars.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer