I started as a Business and Administrative Apprentice in December 2012 within the Department of Physics, and completed a three year NVQ Level 3 in Business and Administration. When I started my Apprenticeship in 2012, I was one of only 6 apprentices across the entire University. I was also the only female apprentice at the University and the only apprentice within the Mechanical Workshop.
Why did you choose to do Apprenticeship-based training?
After completing my A-Levels, I knew I wanted to start my career rather than studying at University. Although I was still interested in gaining a qualification, I knew that learning on the job and gaining experience within a working environment would benefit my career. I always enjoyed Business Studies and Economics at school, so I thought an Apprenticeship in Business and Administration would be the perfect fit.
What did you gain from the Apprenticeship?
I have gained so much experience from starting my career with an Apprenticeship, as well as other skills along the way. I have gained valuable experience of working in different office environments, developing my knowledge of business critical activities, and learning how to communicate effectively with different groups of people whilst working within a team.
My Apprenticeship offered different opportunities, from developing my IT skills by creating websites, to delivering significant improvements in administrative processes. I was able to directly relate the new skills I learnt from my qualification into the workplace.
In 2014 the University completely changed its approach to apprentices, keen to make the most of the opportunities available both for the organisation and local young people. I was one the first apprentices in the University to help raise awareness of the opportunities and benefits an apprentice can bring. From internal promotional meetings and taking part in University wide events, to meeting government ministers, BBC interviews on radio and TV. Not only internally, I felt honoured to be nominated to become an Apprenticeship Ambassador for Oxfordshire. I really enjoyed working with younger people, offering guidance and helping to show how successful Apprenticeships can be and how the individual can benefit. These fantastic opportunities helped my confidence grow and developed my public speaking and interpersonal skills.
What have you done since and how has the Apprenticeship helped this?
From starting as an apprentice in the Department of Physics just over 8 years ago, I now hold a senior role as Administrative Manager within Graduate Admissions and Recruitment. My qualifications and skills have shown that you can create a career from an Apprenticeship. I have received multiple awards for my outstanding contribution within the departments I have worked, and I believe that I have shown that an Apprenticeship can be a great starting platform for someone who wants to work within administration.
I have learnt so many different skills from working within large departments, to small administration teams, and progressed to new and higher roles within the University. I have developed administrative processes and created new systems that have increased the efficiency of my work. From starting with the basics of data entry of the technician’s timesheets, to now managing a budget, dealing with high level HR queries and becoming the Departments’ lead for Finance and Administration. I believe that my Apprenticeship and qualifications have helped me shape my career and directed me to where I am today.
With over 8 years’ experience of administration and Executive Assistance work within the University, I would love to develop my managerial skills and hopefully one day manage an apprentice. The University also has a fantastic Work Learn Develop scheme, offering professional qualifications for University staff, which I would be keen to take part in to develop my career further.
Advice for other employees considering it?
I believe an Apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity to gain working experience and learn a qualification at the same time. An Apprenticeship is a great first step in starting a career in something you love and enjoy. From sharing my experiences and achievements of my Apprenticeship, I hope I can encourage and help future apprentices.