Part 1: Considering an apprenticeship? Do it! You will not look back.

Part 1: Considering an apprenticeship? Do it! You will not look back.

November 5, 2015

I feel like nowadays, at least in the public boarding school environment I was brought up in, individuals that take on apprenticeships are looked down on. It was never something that they should be proud of, it was seen as a route you took if you weren't good enough to go to university. In my experience, however, my apprenticeship has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. The thing that people who are quick to judge forget is that we still gain qualifications, and we have to work hard to earn them. It isn't just about showing up to work, it also takes a lot of research and knowledge. We can also work to achieve a university level degree whilst working. It may take us longer to do than you but it still possible. So when it comes to jobs later on, you may find we have the upper hand due to our experience and qualifications.

Applying for an apprenticeship was never my plan. I went through school believing that I needed to go to university and absolutely dreading the idea. I was never one to enjoy sitting in a classroom listening to someone talk about subjects I wasn't entirely interested in. I knew I would never excel in that sort of environment, that I would spend most of my time concerned over how much debt I would be in at the end and not enough time focusing on my work. With this in mind, I decided that going straight into work would be the best thing for me. I learn more quickly by actually performing tasks so an apprenticeship seemed to be the perfect progression route.?

Business administration was never something I even considered as a job role throughout my time in education. Nonetheless, I believed that it would help me learn the ins and outs of a business environment, especially in a small company like Tipsy & Tumbler. It also appealed to me because a lot of businesses require admin assistants, so it would always be helpful having a qualification in it. And I would be able to have a job with normal working hours. With this in mind, I applied for the role of a Level 2 Business Administration apprentice with Tipsy & Tumbler.

My actual apprenticeship work wasn't overwhelming or overly challenging; thankfully I only ever took one exam which was in ICT. Everything else was given to me in the form of workbooks or assignments. I was able to work with my assessor to get through these. I would create a first draft and then she would mark it with suggestions of what needed to be changed. There was no pressure on me to do well first time on any of these tasks. They all relied on you doing research in order to complete questions. As time went on I found that I was able to answer a vast majority of sections based solely on my own knowledge. The remaining parts of my apprenticeship were based on me collating evidence of my work, which may sound easy but remembering to send it to your assessor when you have your head focused on other work tasks is more challenging than I expected. The final main element of my apprenticeship was probably the oddest. My assessor was required to observe me working on a few tasks while narrating my actions into a dictator. This was an unusual setup, which was rather quite an experience for everyone in the office!

My apprenticeship experience was very unique. Being a small company gave me a chance to help out in all sorts of areas within Tipsy & Tumbler. I was able to help test an app within my first few months as well as help with marketing through social media posts and research. It was this involvement that helped me discover design. I had always loved being creative, but I hadn't been able to find a way to turn it into a career that I would enjoy and still have a decent shot of pursuing. Being told by my GCSE art teacher that I couldn't draw made me brush any thoughts of a creative career under a rug. But luckily for me web and graphic design is a lot more than a still life sketch. I was able to take my limited knowledge of photoshop, guidance from Hannah and plunge straight into learning more.

I never imagined that by pursuing something that seemed like a logical choice, I would find another career path that I was incredibly passionate about.