Deivydas's story - Street Lighting Operative, Amey
Deivydas Andriuskevicus moved to the UK in 2012. Initially he worked in a chicken factory, but it was a spell of unemployment that started him on his current journey. Deivydas became an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and it was someone from the organisation who suggested applying for a Street Lighting Apprenticeship. Find out more about how this helped him to develop new skills and build a career – and even led to a meeting with Her Majesty the Queen.
What do you do and where do you do it?
I’m a Street Lighting Operative and apprentices champion for Amey, based in Norfolk.
What were you doing before?
I moved to the UK from Lithuania in 2012, and it was tough. Like many people I believed that money would “drop from the sky” in England, but that wasn’t the case. My English speaking and writing skills were poor, and I ended up working in a chicken factory.
What challenges did you face when you moved?
There were many challenges as you could imagine but my biggest dilemma was that no one at the factory was English – so couldn’t improve my language skills at work. I have realised that in order for my circumstances to change I needed to change my actions. I was living in Great Yarmouth where a lot of people come for a holiday so I just went out and started talking to people. What I have loved about English people that you could just talk with them for hours. By talking and listening my English skills grew. I knew that good language speaking and writing skills was necessary to change my life.
How did you get to the position you’re in today?
Eventually, I quit the chicken factory job. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the factory work but I wanted something else. I visualised myself being in a better place but didn't’know where, or when, at the time. During my unemployment, I got to know the Prince’s Trust which turned my life around. I became an ambassador and travelled around the UK talking in front of hundreds of people to share my story. Public Speaking became my passion.
In 2014, someone from the Prince’s Trust put me in touch with Amey, who were looking for street lighting apprentices in Norwich. I went for an interview and got the job. I was over the moon at the time and worked really hard – I was even nominated for the Highest Placed apprentice in the industry. After three years I successfully secured full time employment, and became the first ever European to gain a job in Norfolk Street Lighting with Amey.
"I’m now an ambassador for DofE and take every opportunity I can – if I impact at least one person’s life, I call that successful."
What do you enjoy most about your job?
One of the best things about Amey is that every single person around me supports me. I feel like a part of family. Not only have I developed my electrical skills, I’ve developed my English skills and grown as a person.
Amey also put me through the Duke of Edinburgh’s award. I’m now an ambassador for DofE and take every opportunity I can – if I impact at least one person’s life, I call that successful.
What’s been a highlight since you’ve been in the UK?
I’m grateful that my manager allowed me to use Amey time to be a Prince’s Trust ambassador, and together they've contributed to the pinnacle of my experiences – including an opportunity to meet and speak with Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Charles. It was covered by Lithuanian national news and the BBC and was a great experience;it's something I will never forget as only a couple of years earlier I was cutting chicken in a factory.
"Everyone’s journey is different and may be difficult at times but I really believe that having hope and faith in yourself is a step forward in anything you decide to do."
What would you want anyone reading this to know?
I want to show that it is possible to achieve great things even though you are new in a completely new country with no or poor language skills. A new country means a new life and new challenges but as long as you are willing to learn, adapt to different circumstances or even push yourself that extra mile when necessary you will definitely grow as a human being. Everyone’s journey is different and may be difficult at times but I really believe that having hope and faith in yourself is a step forward in anything you decide to do.
From IT programmes to engineering programmes, there are many types of apprenticeships on offer. Entry criteria ranges from 5 GCSEs to 2 A-levels/BTEC Level 3 for higher and degree level apprenticeships.