I started as a Clinical Trials Support Officer Apprentice in October 2015 within the Nuffield Department of Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) and completed a three-year NVQ Levels 3 & 4 in Business and Administration. I won Oxfordshire Apprentice of the Year in April 2018.
Why did you choose to do Apprenticeship-based training?
After completing my AS-Levels, I knew I wanted to start my career rather than study 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 at school, so I thought an Apprenticeship in Business and Administration would be the perfect fit.
I searched for Business Administration Apprenticeships on the gov.uk website and one for the University of Oxford stood out to me. So I went for it and never looked back!
What did you gain from the Apprenticeships?
Since starting my career as an Apprentice, I have gained valuable experience of working in different office environments, developing a wealth of knowledge, 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, to delivering significant improvements in administrative processes. I was able to directly transfer the new skills I learned from my qualification into the workplace and my subsequent PA role. Without my Apprenticeship, I would not have been given the opportunity to see if the PA role would be suitable for me and the University.
In April 2018, I won Oxfordshire Higher Apprentice of the Year for my category, as well as overall Oxfordshire Apprentice of the Year. I felt honoured to be nominated for these coveted awards and would advise and encourage any manager to put their Apprentice forward for these awards, as from my experience, they can act as a springboard for future success.
Since my award, I completed my training to become an ambassador for Apprenticeships. I have really enjoyed sharing my Apprenticeship story, to show how successful Apprenticeships can be and hope to inspire the next generation of Apprentices. These fantastic opportunities helped my confidence to 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 just over 6 years ago, I now hold an advanced role as Personal Assistant to the Director of the SITU NDORMS and Unit Administrator. My qualifications and skills have shown that you can create a career from an Apprenticeship. I have recently received a recognition award for my outstanding contribution within the department, 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 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 patient questionnaires to now managing budgets, dealing with more complex problems and issues, and becoming the Units’ Administrator. I believe that my Apprenticeship and qualifications have helped me shape my career and directed me to where I am today.
What advice would you give to a young person who might be thinking about an Apprenticeship?
My advice would be to go on the gov.uk apprenticeship website and search for apprenticeships that suit your skill set and interests, and then apply for those positions that match your key qualities. It is also important to research the company you are thinking of sending an application to, so you have an idea of the business they provide and whether this would interest you.
What advice would you give an employer who is considering employing an apprentice?
Employing an apprentice can add huge value to your organisation. An apprentice can bring innovative ideas and provide a new take on the way an organisation runs. Both of which are essential for any business to grow and progress. This is a great opportunity to make them your organisation’s ‘success story’ and be assured both parties will reap the benefits.
With over 6 years’ experience of administration and Personal Assistance work within the University, and since mentoring the SITU Apprentice, I would love to develop my managerial skills and hopefully, one day manage many apprentices. The University also offers Apprenticeships for existing staff members, allowing them to progress their professional development through funded training, which I would be keen to take part in to develop my career further.
Katie is also an ambassador for Apprenticeships....
I have been involved with numerous Apprenticeship Ambassador activities with OxLep and University of Oxford including visiting colleges, helping out at career fests and networking events. This involves, speaking to students to help them in their next steps in their careers and sharing my Apprenticeship story.
This has also developed my public speaking skills and numerous colleagues and family members have seen the huge growth in confidence I now portray due to past success on being award the Apprentice of the Year and recalling the genuine emotion and self-motivation to go on an inspire the next generation of Apprentices.
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