This week is National Apprenticeship Week and it got me thinking about my own experience as an Apprentice. I fell pregnant in my last year at 6th form and shortly after finishing my A-Levels I had my baby, when I was ready to get back into work I found it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find a job, due to me having virtually no previous work experience. I applied for many roles, entry level roles, roles that required no previous experience, roles that said they could offer me room to grow and develop, however I was getting nowhere fast and growing increasingly disheartened and frustrated! I went on CV writing workshops to make my CV the best it could be, interview workshops to boost my confidence, yet still no luck.

I had heard about Apprenticeships but had always (naively) assumed they were for school leavers or college drop-outs, I had no idea they were also an option for people, like myself older than the age of 16/17. I carried out research and managed to find a job within a firm of Accountants, my employer was willing to employ me as an Apprentice and I found a college where I would be able to study. I decided to study Business by doing an Advanced Apprenticeship (NVQ Level 3) in Business and Administration.

My Apprenticeship involved working four days a week and attending college once a week, every so often my assessor would come in to work to shadow me and make sure I was capable of putting all the skills I had been taught into practice. The great thing about an Apprenticeship is that you are not just learning in theory you have to be able to demonstrate how it is applied to your work.

To complete an Apprenticeship can take anything from one year up to four years, depending on the level you are doing. You have a year minimum to complete your course, but I really wanted to get mine done as quickly as I could and was able to finish in just over 9 months (with a lot of late nights and hard work!).

The beauty of an Apprenticeship is you gain hands on experience as well as a qualification, which then makes finding a new role easier! Generally once you have finished your course your employer more than likely will offer you a full time role, but if that is not the case with your new found knowledge you are more employable-so don’t be discouraged!

Thanks to my Apprenticeship I found a new job (here at Calco) and I have now been with the company for 4 years and managed to progress from an Administrator to a Marketing Manager. To help with my new role within Marketing I undertook an apprenticeship in Social Media and Marketing within a Business. The fact that I was able to constantly learn whilst gaining new skills gave me such enthusiasm to come into work every day. Juggling my work load whilst working full time (no day off for college as it is all done online this time round), as well as being a parent was not easy but what you gain from seeing it through is more than worth it.

Apprenticeships are not for everyone but for anyone with doubts I would say try it! It has helped me massively, there are so many routes into the career you want to pursue so do your research, find what works for you. Learning on the job was perfect for me and I am so happy I pursued this path, professionally and even more importantly, personally as I have developed and gained so much by deciding to take on an Apprenticeship.

If you, or anyone you know is interested in going down this route, or perhaps you are an employer wanting to look into taking on an Apprentice, have a look here!

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