Here at Visionpath, we practice what we preach – walk the talk, so to speak – so we’re proud to count apprentices among our team. This National Apprenticeship Week, we’re handing over to them to share their experiences of being an apprentice – from the reasons they chose this path, to their biggest learnings and challenges so far.
First up: say hello to Sienna, our Programmes Assistant.
Sienna, why did you opt for an apprenticeship after leaving school?
I decided doing an apprenticeship after leaving school was the best decision for me as I could gain lots of valuable experience that I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else, and work towards a qualification at the same time.
I was unsure what career path I wanted to take, so a Business Administration apprenticeship was perfect: it covers a wide range of workplace skills, and you get to look into all the different aspects of a business. During the apprenticeship I’ve managed to find which aspects of the business I’d like to develop further and have been supported by Visionpath to discover my career path.
So, what’s your role and what does it involve?
I’m the Programmes Assistant at Visionpath, so I assist on the day-to-day running of both our Talent and Learning programmes. I make sure everything’s ready in the lead-up to events, including getting all the resources ready and informing students of what they need to know in preparation.
I also communicate with many different schools all over the country, sharing all the opportunities we have and booking in outreach and engagement sessions to get their students interested and taking part with our programmes. I get to attend some of the events we host with clients and help with registering attendance, making sure all resources are available and asking young people to complete expense forms, which I collate for processing after the event.
"In a way I’m learning the theory behind my role and why we do certain things, and then getting to put it into practice – which I think is a great way to learn and fully understand what I’m doing."
What apprentice training programme are you doing – and how does it relate to your role?
I’m doing a Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship. This course really complements my role as I get to learn about the key skills involved with business administration – and then implement them into my everyday role. In a way I’m learning the theory behind my role and why we do certain things, and then getting to put it into practice – which I think is a great way to learn and fully understand what I’m doing.
What skills and knowledge have you gained so far?
Since starting my apprenticeship, I’ve developed several new skills. For example, I now know how to organise and prioritise my workload based on what’s coming up on our different programmes – this was something I used to struggle with, as I never knew what was a priority or needed to be done first, but now I can plan ahead and organise my workload accordingly. I’ve also developed other workplace skills, such as how to communicate with stakeholders – both internal and external – and change the way I’m communicating to them as and when it’s needed, which I think is a valuable skill to have in any workplace!
What’s your favourite thing about your apprenticeship?
What I enjoy most about my apprenticeship is being able to constantly learn and develop my skills. I’m always picking up different skills and knowledge – sometimes without even realising. I’m surrounded by people who always offer support and help when I need it, but also encourage me to try new ways of doing things in order to help me progress. It’s great to be in an environment where there’s always room for growth and progression.
"Some advice for other young people considering an apprenticeship is to be confident attending insight and assessment experiences... They’re not only for businesses to learn more about you, but also for you to learn more about them."
What’s been your biggest challenge, and how did you get the support you needed?
I think the biggest challenge during my apprenticeship was definitely the transition from a school environment to an office environment – it’s something I don’t think school can ever really prepare you for. However, I was given a lot of support from my line manager and other colleagues to help make this transition as smooth as possible. I made sure to ask lots of questions if I didn’t understand something, and people always made the time to help and explain things in a way that I would understand. No question is ever too small to ask!
Another big challenge I had was speaking to people on the phone, which is something I’ve always struggled with and didn’t have much experience or confidence in doing. However, I let everyone know this was something I found difficult, so a few of my colleagues helped me write a script I could follow and practice until it was something I felt comfortable with. I now feel confident when I’m tasked with calling people – I don’t find it scary anymore!
What’s your advice for other young people considering an apprenticeship?
Some advice I have for other young people considering an apprenticeship is to do lots of research on places like Indeed and CV Library – there are so many different apprenticeships available with some amazing companies, you just have to find them.
Also, to be confident attending insight and assessment experiences, as I know sometimes they sound quite scary and daunting. They’re not only for businesses to learn more about you, but also for you to learn more about them and decide if that is somewhere you would like to work – either way it’s all a learning experience.
If you’re a young person thinking about applying for an apprenticeship, find out how we can help you get there.
Or maybe you’re a business looking for support in hiring apprentices? Whatever your size – and whether it’s for the first or fifteenth time – get in touch to find out how we can help.