When Sophie has a spare few moments at work, she looks after our own Oxford University Apprenticeships Blog! Below, she tells us in her own words how she got involved with it and where her apprenticeship is taking her.
How did you get involved in writing our blog?
This is a project I got involved with at the start of the second year of my Apprenticeship. It is something I volunteered myself for when it was mentioned at a networking event.
Having some past experience with writing and blogging I was given the lovely opportunity of designing and running the site. It fits in around my work schedule and is a great way to keep up to date with all the recent goings on for Apprentices in Oxfordshire.
Which school did you go to?
I attended Bicester Community College for 4 years, studying up to GCSE Level.
Did you go straight into your Apprenticeship from school?
No! I spent just over a year after school working in a local high end retail outlet while studying a part-time course in Psychology with the Open University.
Did you leave after year 11 or stay on to sixth form?
A-levels/School definitely wasn’t for me. I left as soon as I possibly could and never looked back!
Why did you choose to do an Apprenticeship?
The thought of going back into full time education wasn’t very appealing to me. I enjoyed having the independence of having a job and an income; however I really wanted to gain some more qualifications that would expand my knowledge and build up my CV. An Apprenticeship ticked both of these boxes and seemed like a perfect opportunity!
How did you find out about your Apprenticeship?
My family we’re all so helpful when I decided to start looking for an Apprenticeship, we were first put in contact with Jaya John John, former Apprenticeship Manager for Oxford University, (Now Clive Shepherd). He was able to explain more about the Apprenticeship scheme and answered all of my many questions!
I found my job listed on the University’s recruitment page, after my application had been successful, I attended an Apprentice Introduction Day and then formal interview a few days later.
When I went to the introduction day I met my now colleague Ellie Turner, originally there was only one position available, but after meeting us both our department decided to create another Apprenticeship and hire the two of us together!
What have you gained from your Apprenticeship – skills, experience etc?
I have had the fantastic opportunity of working across a variety of executive education programmes, learning all the behind-the-scenes process of the logistical arrangements.
I have expanded my knowledge of website building and design, creating bespoke business documents, compiling databases and assisting with the delivery of multiple programmes over the course of my Apprenticeship.
As a plus, I have attended multiple courses for my professional development through The Oxford Learning Institute and the University of Oxford’s IT Services Learning Programme. I also have a Kays Medical Certificate in Emergency First Aid. These training courses were all funded by my department and were fantastic evidence examples for some of my units contributing towards my NVQ.
What do you plan to do next?
After finishing my Apprenticeship and working as a Programme Office Assistant for a while I would love to take a gap-year and do some travelling. I have plans to go to Australia, New-Zealand and then Canada and India to visit my two pen-friends.
After that I would like to look in to getting a job as a ‘Programme Co-ordinator’ (or something similar in the events industry) and put into practice all of the skills I have learned through my Apprenticeship.
I would also like to study a short part-time course in creative writing at some point and possibly re-visit my studies in psychology someday!
How will your Apprenticeship help you achieve this?
Having already had the experience of workings as a Programme Assistant, for what will soon be 3 years, it seems like a natural progression and target for me to aim for. I’m looking forward to having more responsibility and involvement when delivering a programme/event.
The qualifications I will have by the end of my Apprenticeship will be equivalent to that of A-levels or a Foundation Degree, which means if I ever wanted to go to university to study further, the option is open to me.
What advice would you give a young person who might be thinking about an Apprenticeship?
Your Apprenticeship is completely what YOU make of it.
You can get involved with wider projects, meet and network with lots of interesting people, get support for your personal and professional development and have the opportunity to go over and above with your studies to gain more qualifications.
There is a wide variety of Apprenticeships available in a multitude of different working sectors; you just need to find the right one for you!
What advice would you give an employer who is considering employing an Apprentice?
We are awesome... Hire more of us!