It all starts back in year 10 of High School, when your teachers start asking you what job you want to do in life. Some of you might be in the same situation I was in- I had no idea! I got on with school, finished my GCSEs and did really well in my results and then I did the same thing that most school leavers think they need to do – go to college.
After my first year at college I was dead set on going to University to study psychology. Then during my second year I just knew that this wasn’t something I wanted to do, not only did I not want to study psychology, I didn’t want to go to university at all!
I then started to look at apprenticeships, because I didn’t want to just go straight into a dead-end job, I wanted to earn money but also get a qualification at the same time. I spent hours going through the National Apprenticeship Service website and decided I wanted to do an apprenticeship in Business and Administration.
I came across an apprenticeship at The Co-operative Group and by doing a bit of research on the business realised it looked like something I would be interested in. It was different and equally an interesting place to work, as it is a business owned by its members. I applied and after a telephone interview and two more interviews I got the job! As you can see it’s not just a simple apply online and one interview process for some apprenticeships, businesses need to know they are employing the right people for the right job.
I had never worked in an office environment before it took quite a bit of getting used to, but it didn’t take long for me to fit in and settle in my new place of work. I slowly started to build up my business administration skills such as communication and ICT knowledge. It wasn’t always easy and I had a few struggles when I first started. I relied a lot on other people as I obviously had no experience and needed to be taught along the way. This is something you should definitely embrace and not be afraid to ask for help as sitting there struggling is even worse.
I was very fortunate in my role to have experienced different aspects of working for a large organisation. I have been able to get involved in projects and fund raising for the Charity of the Year in 2013 which has given me the opportunity to widen my skills. I was the project lead for a fund raising group and organised a charity Christmas fete, skydive and abseil down one of the tallest buildings in Manchester!
After working at the Co-operative Group for around a year I started to feel I had more responsibility. Instead of me going to everyone else for help and answers, people were now coming to me. It felt great to have achieved so much in such a short space of time and I really felt valued within the team. I started to take on more and more responsibility for example a website that my line manager was solely responsible for, he has now passed on to me and I look after everything to do with the website. I also showed how much I had progressed as I was promoted to two role bands higher than I was when I started. This proved my team really valued me and felt I was working at a lot higher level.
I completely embraced my role as an apprentice and wanted to promote apprenticeships internally and externally to show that this career path is just as worthwhile as going to university. I have kick started my career early and can’t wait to work my way up within the business.
I have grown and moved on with my life so much since starting an apprenticeship. It has allowed me to develop the skills and knowledge I needed at the right pace and has benefitted me so much. I won a National Intermediate Apprentice of the Year award in 2014 which was an amazing achievement. I believe you don’t always need a degree to be successful and it’s down to yourself to take every opportunity you can and don’t give up on something if you really want it. An apprenticeship was definitely the route for my future! Find out more here.
Apprenticeship case study by Lois Mclure