My apprenticeship, in my own words…
To mark National Apprenticeship Week (06-10 March 2017) our Policy and Communications Apprentice, Rianna King shares her story. Rianna joined Impetus-PEF in October 2016 and is completing a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship.
What did you study at college?
I finished secondary school with eleven A*- C GCSEs. Deciding which four A Level subjects I wanted to study was one the hardest decisions I have had to make. I chose English Literature, History, Business Studies and Psychology. After my first year, I had to change my college as I moved from south to north London. At the time, I became inspired by Alan Sugar and Duncan Bannatyne to become the next great entrepreneur of my generation! That’s why I took the difficult decision to study a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business Studies at my new FE college. This felt like a good turning point in my life – although I was restricted in my choice of college, to this day, I don’t regret my decision. At 19, I had three distinctions in my course and four strong AS Levels. This meant I was eligible to go to university – the question was, which one? And what should I study?
What made you want to apply for an apprenticeship?
Deciding to do an apprenticeship was not an easy decision for me. I thought long and hard about what to do at university and was even in the process of filling out applications and writing my personal statement. I went to workshops and university fairs, but nothing inspired me. I felt like I could learn better through practice. You don’t become a great sales person from writing about it, you get out there and do it! So, I realised that I needed work experience rather than three years of debt. My dad disagreed – he wanted me to go to university as he thought that was the “normal route”. So, I knew I had to do my research to convince him.
How did you find the application process?
Initially, I had no idea where to look or what to look for. I had only heard of apprenticeships when I was in college. I searched the web and made a few phone calls. At that stage I was offered a few apprenticeships in banking. However, the interviews showed me that it wasn’t the job for me. So, I enquired through colleges. I found Westminster Kingsway College and spoke on the phone to an advisor which led to an interview. Through them, I found Impetus-PEF! I applied for their Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship and was selected for an interview. I went through two stages – the first was a short test and an interview, after which I was shortlisted and invited for a second interview, where I was required to prepare and give a presentation. Not long after, I received a phone call from the college to say I had been offered the job – I was so pleased and so was my dad! I can’t believe the process took just six weeks.
How do you find the balance between the studying and work aspects of your apprenticeship?
My main worries were; what if the workload is too much? Or I can’t prioritise my work properly? Luckily, if I organise my work efficiently this isn’t an issue. My apprenticeship requires assignments or exams to be completed every four weeks. This gives me breathing space and Impetus-PEF knows that taking on an apprentice means allocating sufficient time for me to complete my coursework.
What is your favourite thing about being an apprentice?
Having the opportunity to gain practical work experience in an office, five days a week, without needing to go to the college campus. This has given me a greater sense of responsibility and more independence. As the youngest person in my organisation I have so much to learn from the people around me, but I’m happy that I’m treated like a normal member of staff.
If you had one piece of advice for others thinking about doing an apprenticeship, what would it be?
Just go for it! I doubted apprenticeships at first – the stereotype, of them not being as good as university was my main doubt, but now I’m six months in and have already enjoyed it more than my 15 years at school. My confidence and skills have already grown so much!
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