Sophie Ward

I now have an idea of what it is like to work for the University, and the amazing opportunities I may not have known about if it had not been for this apprenticeship 

  1. Did you go straight into your Apprenticeship from school? 
    Yes, I completed my last GCSE exam in summer of 2019, and then two weeks later I started this apprenticeship.
  2. Why did you choose to do an Apprenticeship?
    I had not thought about apprenticeships being an option open to myself due to my age (I was 16 and still completing my GCSE exams at the time), until I started researching potential options after secondary school and found apprenticeships available for those as young as myself. As soon as I read more about these I realised what an amazing opportunity this would be for me, as I was keen to move on from attending school 5 days a week and start in the working world.

    By doing an apprenticeship I was able to get the best of both worlds, I could continue my education and gain more qualifications, while also being able to start getting myself on the career ladder and get into the real working world as at the time, I did not have any work experience.

  3. How did you find out about your Apprenticeship? 
    I found this apprenticeship via the GOV.UK website. I would be checking it almost every day to see if there were any vacancies that looked like they would be a match for myself, and after a few months of searching, I found this one. I was looking for any I felt that I would learn from and were my potential areas I wanted to progress in such as business administration.
  4. What have you gained from your Apprenticeship – skills, experience etc.? 
    As I am in a very student facing team, I have seen a huge difference in my confidence levels. On a daily basis I am liaising with stakeholders both internal and external, I am communicating with those in my office from varying levels of seniority and most of all I am being given the opportunity to experience so many different areas of the working world, from finance to customer service. The most valuable skill I have learnt is that it is perfectly acceptable to make mistakes while you learn, as without doing this you are not able to improve and continue growing your transferable skills, which I will use for the remainder of my career.
  5. What has been your proudest moment so far from doing your Apprenticeship? 
    9 months into my apprenticeship, a member of our team moved to a new office within the University and I helped cover the position during the interim of recruiting another permanent position. This was something that I initially did not have the confidence to do as I was aware that I was still only 9 months into the working world. However, I was supported and monitored thoroughly via members of my team and because of this, I was able to take on more responsibilities than they had initially given to me during the temporary covering. This then ended up leading me to have the chance to help train, oversee and lead temporary staff members through the interim period. This was also during the huge impact of COVID-19, so we were all having to adapt to new ways of working, but I was especially proud of how being so new to the team, I was able to show my growing skills of leadership, determination and hard work. 
  6. What do you plan to do next? 
    As I am nearing the end of my apprenticeship I am planning on looking to see if I am able to find a permanent position in my team as I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them. However, if this does not become an option, I will definitely be looking at staying within the University of Oxford as I have had the best experience with them and feel like this is an organisation I would love to continue to be a part of.
  7. How will your/has your Apprenticeship helped you to achieve this? 
    My time at my apprenticeship has helped in more ways than one, I have been able to build up experience of working as prior to this I had nothing, so I now have an idea of what it is like to work for the University, and the amazing opportunities I may not have known about if it had not been for this apprenticeship I accepted back in June 2019.
  8. What advice would you give someone who might be thinking about an Apprenticeship? 
    In my opinion, this is the best option for those who want to learn, earn and progress! If I had not have been given the opportunities I have experienced since starting the apprenticeship I do not think I would feel so confident as I do now. Initially I wanted to follow my friends and start sixth form or go off to college, but after doing this apprenticeship I can see how valuable this experience has been.
  9. What advice would you give an employer who is considering employing an Apprentice? 
    Considering hiring an apprentice can be a big decision, but you should think that after a few years of hard work, training and determination from your apprentice, you will have an indispensable asset to the team. I think spending the time to train up a willing apprentice can help boost not only the individual’s skills, but also the teams. Apprenticeships can lead to positives for all involved!

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