Sixth form, college and university offer some great opportunities to young people. However, they do not suit everyone – they certainly didn’t work for me.
After a relatively plain-sailing school life, I gained 11 GCSEs. My school at the time pushed every student to go onto sixth form with the aim of attending university, I followed this path – for a little while anyway.
It didn’t take me (or the teachers) long to realise I wasn’t quite suited to sixth form. Worryingly, the school pushed me to continue this path until I finally decided I would ‘drop out’. I filled my free time by working and didn’t really know what to do next, nonetheless, I needed to stay in part time education until my 18th birthday. This led me to sign up to study a course at my local FE College. Yet again, a few months down the line I knew this wasn’t for me.
My sister and some of my close friends were completing apprenticeships. All of them seemed to be enjoying their apprenticeships and the idea of taking on more responsibility, maturing and earning whilst learning seemed very appealing. Therefore I put a lot of time into searching for an apprenticeship. After a few months of searching and attending interviews, I found the position at the Edge Foundation. I decided to apply as the role was what I had been looking for and the organisations impact and intentions are meaningful to myself after my experiences with the UKs education system. After applying, I attended an interview with the training provider and two interviews with Edge. Approximately two to three weeks after applying I had been offered the job at Edge and did not hesitate in accepting the offer.
From the word go I knew I had made the correct decision. Just walking into our offices in Westminster, was enough to make ‘the world of work’ feel much more glamorous than both sixth form and college. The team were all very welcoming and gave me plenty of time to settle in, but very quickly I became integrated within all departments and worked closely with every team member within the organisation and my opinion was immediately valued. However, be prepared! You’ll be treated like any other employee from day one, this means you’ll go through formal procedures such as indutions and meetings straight away.
I have learnt a lot over my year as an apprentice in the Edge offices, such as the importance of close relations and office etiquette to simple PR techniques and a huge range of transferable skills. My time in the classroom has also taught me some invaluable skills from Google analytics to running campaigns, all which I get to put into practice at Edge. My training took place in a training centre with an apprenticeship provider. On these days I would work on assignments in areas such as search engine marketing, digital marketing metrics and analytics, and content marketing. Back in the Edge offices I learnt to always ask questions. My fellow collegues have been invaluable, providing their support and knowledge throughout my apprenticeship. No matter what I have needed help with, someone has always spared some time to assist me.
There is no such thing as an average day as an apprentice. My role at Edge consists of running social media accounts, updating the organisation’s website, liaising with designers, working with the research team and completing many other exciting tasks. However, other days I have been lucky enough to give speeches in the House of Commons, get lifts in a chauffeur driven Rolls-Royce and shake the hands of members of the royal family.
The concept of learning on the job and self-teaching is one that ultimately has fit my needs perfectly. It has helped me develop as a person and progress quickly and effectively. I believe that I have attained a skill set that can be used in any role thanks to my time as an apprentice, many of these skills could simply not be taught in a classroom environment. I now have a level 3 qualification in digital marketing and the experience to work in the sector I want to work in.
I have now completed my apprenticeship successfully and just in time for National Apprenticeship Week 2018. During #NAW18 I had my review where Edge offered me an extension on my contract which I was delighted to accept. I now work for Edge full time as a Marketing and Digital Communications Executive. We celebrated the completion of my apprenticeship with a small graduation, topped off by prosecco and doughnuts – which isn’t uncommon in the Edge offices!
The team put together a small scrapbook filled with pictures from my time as an apprentice and messages of congratulations, which was a very kind gesture.
I am overjoyed with my decision both to become an apprentice and work for the Edge Foundation and can certainly say that an apprenticeship #WorksForMe.