With such a wide range of apprenticeships out there, it’s hard to know where to start, and finding out what it’s really like to actually be an apprentice isn’t the easiest of tasks since they’re usually scattered around different workplaces.
Jodie Moore, business administration apprentice at South Thames College, is here to help though. Here, she gives us an insight into her life as an apprentice in the hope of inspiring others to follow in her footsteps. Here’s what she had to share...
What made you choose the apprenticeship route over anything else?
When I left school I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do, however I had an idea that I wanted to go into hairdressing. I got myself an apprenticeship with Toni and Guy but a year into this I decided it really wasn’t for me as I had been unhappy for a long time in that industry. I knew I enjoyed admin work so I looked for a full time job in that area, but every employer wanted experience I did not have.
I then found myself on the National Apprenticeships’ website and I found out that I could do business administration as an apprenticeship. This opportunity was great for me as I really wanted to get into work but it was a bonus for me because I could also gain a qualification.
What do you enjoy most about it?
I enjoy the fact that I am working and I do not feel like I am an apprentice when I am at work, I feel like a normal employee just like everyone else.
Is there anything you’ve found to be a bit of a challenge?
At first I found talking on the phones quite challenging as I didn’t have a lot of confidence, but the more I did it the more confident I got and now it doesn’t bother me at all.
What is a typical working day like for you?
I get to work for 9 o’clock and the first thing I do is check my emails. Once I have responded to emails I start all the work that needs to be done for the day. Some of these things include: filing, making sure all paper work is up to date and signed, claiming Full Framework Certificates, inviting people in for Apprenticeship assessments, making up starter packs and portfolios for assessors and other general admin jobs.
What skills have you gained since starting your apprenticeship that you didn't have before?
Time management is a key skill I have picked up as I work in a busy office and sometimes I can have lots of work to do so I have to manage my time to make sure I complete it all on time. Being organised is another skill I have gained as I have lots of paperwork to deal with and I have to make sure this is all organised properly so that nothing gets lost.
Do you worry that you've missed out on experiences that your friends who chose a more academic route have had?
When I first left hairdressing I regretted not doing my A levels as I wanted to get into office admin and eventually my goal is to have a management role. I thought I had missed this opportunity as I wouldn’t be able to go to university, however once I started my apprenticeship I realised I could work my way up and either go to university or just stay in the company I am working for and eventually manage a team, so no, not really.
What do you hope to do when you've finished your apprenticeship?
I have actually just completed my Level 2 Apprenticeship and I am just starting my Level 3. Once I have finished my Level 3, I look to stay at South Thames College full time and slowly work my way up to more senior roles.
What are your colleagues like? Do you feel like a normal employee or do apprentices get treated differently?
My colleagues are amazing and right from day one I was made to feel very welcome. Although they have made me feel like a normal employee they have also given me lots of support with my apprenticeship and my training.
What advice do you have for others considering doing an apprenticeship?
I would advise anyone who wants to work but may not have the experience they need to take an apprenticeship. You get to earn money and gain a qualification at the same time. I cannot think of a bad word to say about apprenticeships!
If Jodie has sparked an interest in you to do an apprenticeship in business administration or any other subject for that matter, you’re in the right place to start your search. Browse the full range available or search for ones near you.