What’s it really like to be an apprentice?

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Chantel Piper, 19, started her business administration apprenticeship 10 months ago. Here, she explains some of the many benefits which have come out of the experience so far:

If you’re feeling as though you’re ready to take the plunge into working life, but you don’t have the qualifications or experience you need to get you there straight away, an apprenticeship is a fantastic alternative to going to university. Unless you want to be a doctor and need a degree, an apprenticeship can just about offer you any course in any career path, opening up doors left, right and centre. But, what’s it really like to be an apprentice?

Well, I’ve been an apprentice at Parenta since November of last year and I can’t even begin to cover everything I have learnt since working here, and everything I still have to learn!

Skills, skills and more skills

With any workplace, there are going to be core skills you’re going to need to pick up pretty quickly and these include time management, workplace etiquette, respect and punctuality. Once you’ve got these in place you can start learning the skills of the trade. In my case, this included comprehensive computer knowledge, the ability to research and put together articles, website design and customer service. I’ve found that keeping track of everything you learn whilst doing your apprenticeship is a good idea as this not only motivates you, it reminds you of how far you can come in a year. Don’t forget to add all the skills you’ve learnt to your CV too!

Responsibility

With any role you take in a company, you’ll have a responsibility to yourself and your team members. This means making sure you’re doing your job to the best of your abilities and not holding anyone else back. In time, you’ll have more responsibilities and this might mean having a bigger or more complex workload. One thing I’ve learnt is to ask lots of questions before taking on anything new  – this way you can be sure you know exactly what you’re doing, as opposed to ‘winging it’ on your first attempt.

Real work experience

An apprenticeship is the opportunity to gain some real experience in the kind of industry you’d like to work in. You can use this time to learn as much about the team you work for and everyone’s role within it – this will give you a better idea of which one you’d like to aspire towards once your course finishes. You could also try sitting with each person in your team and seeing what they do and getting them to teach you bits of their role – this will not only build your knowledge of your department, it’ll give you lots to talk about in future interviews too!

Lots of support

Both your assessor and your manager will be on hand to answer any questions you have in regard to your course. If you want to be sure you have time with your manager to discuss job-related or apprenticeship questions, ask them for a weekly catch up – this way you’ll have set time every week to sit down and go over everything rather than firing a rush of questions across the office. Whilst your assessor will schedule monthly or bi-monthly meetings with you (depending on your progress), they’ll also be available via phone and email if you need them for anything in the meantime.

Looking to the future

As the end of your apprenticeship draws to a close (as mine slowly is) you’ll have a much clearer idea of where you want to progress on to next. This could be moving onto another course, a new role at another business or progression into a full-time role at your current company. Either way, your apprenticeship will give you time to discover what you want from your future career and allow you to grow as an individual, enabling you to follow this career.

Overall, being an apprentice is an amazing experience that’ll give you lots of specialised knowledge and a variety of skills for you to take on wherever you choose to go next.

Interested in becoming an apprentice? Contact us and we’ll try and find something that suits you!

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