Suse poses in front on a hill with a beach back drop

Apprentice case study : Suse Rolfe


I was happily working in radio when I stumbled across the advert for an Environmental Health Apprentice, if I’m honest, I hadn’t even considered a career in the field. I did lots of research before I applied for the position and knew I would absolutely love it! I work in the Environmental Protection Team at North Devon Council, while I study, part-time at UCW. The course takes 4 years, studying one day a week and working the rest, and I find that balance is just right!

My role within the council involves dealing with Environmental issues, such as fly-tipping, littering, abandoned vehicles, dog control, stray dogs, and much more. I am out daily in North Devon and get to appreciate the beauty of where I live, alongside educating people to keep it that way! Education and awareness are a big part of my role, and mostly, the public receives this well. No two days are the same, and I love the variety.

Studying alongside the job can be hard work, you must be prepared to commit some spare time, but once you find the balance that fits your life, it becomes manageable. The apprentice opportunity is a pathway to a promising new career, studying as an older student sets a great example to my children, that it’s never too late to pursue a goal. Many people associate apprenticeships with people of school or college leaving age, but they are available for everyone. I can earn as I learn and have the support of my colleagues to help with anything I need.

If you’ve ever considered taking the apprenticeship route, I would highly recommend it. The skills you gain while working, complement the learning criteria, and by the time you graduate, you will have years of experience in the field, which will help you to hit the ground running. I haven’t looked back, and I’m so pleased I applied when I did!