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Life as an apprentice - National Apprenticeship Week 2017

Monday, 06 March 2017 14:11

Lauren - FRN Conference

For National Apprenticeship Week, Lauren Jenkins, Office Administrator shares her experience as an apprentice at the FRN. 

After leaving sixth form, I was unsure on what I wanted to do next. I knew that one day I would like to study for a degree, but I didn’t want to go straight to university – it just didn’t feel right for me at the time. I had heard of apprenticeships before, but had never considered doing one myself as I didn’t know much about how they worked.

I approached City Of Bristol College with the intention of signing up to a new course, in the hope that it would inspire me and give me direction on what I wanted to do next as a career. After discussing the various options available for enrolling at the college, a staff member suggested to me that I take a look at doing an apprenticeship.

From there I signed up to the City Of Bristol Apprenticeship scheme. It was just a simple form to fill out online, letting them know about my current qualifications, experience and what I was interested in doing next. This put me into a pool of potential apprentices to be matched with an employer, which didn’t take long at all.

Shortly after completing the form I was contacted by the college, who let me know that I had been connected with a charity, the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN), and that they would like to interview me to see if I was suitable for the role. I was very nervous for the interview, as it would be my first experience of working in an office. However I felt more confident knowing that I had support from the college. Despite my initial nerves, the interview went really well, and shortly afterwards I was informed that I was successful.

Starting the apprenticeship in my first ever office job was daunting – but it did not take long for me to feel part of the team at FRN. I was shown the ropes by colleagues in the office who were extremely helpful and made me feel comfortable and confident with what I was doing.

I was assigned an assessor who scheduled to visit me every few weeks to check on my progress and provide support. My assessor was friendly, helpful and enabled me to work through the apprenticeship with all questions answered and all the resources I needed.

The units were relevant to the job and I had multiple opportunities to work through each unit of the course with a staff member, learning as I was going along. One of my favourite units was “providing administration for the recruitment and selection process”. In this unit I was required to create an applicant schedule on Excel, record the CV’s and forms that had been received, ensure the managers had copies of each to make their decision. I also helped the Operation Manager with sending out the invitations to interviews and communications to let applications know if they were not successful. This gave me an experience I may not have had if I had not enrolled on the apprenticeship, and I learnt a wealth of information about what is involved with the recruitment process.

I was very excited about finishing the apprenticeship. Not just because the work was finished and I had achieved my Level 3 in Business and Administration, but also the excitement of what my role would bring next. At the end of my course, I was thankfully offered a full time position as Office Administrator at FRN.

My role has progressed since finishing my apprenticeship and I now provide the administration for most aspects within the office, as well as managing a commercial contract. I am also very excited to announce I will be starting my Level 4 Business and Administration with Seetec (and will be an apprentice again!). This will enable me to develop on what I have learnt previously and become more confident and efficient in my role. The units are fairly similar at what was involved at Level 3, however at Level 4 it looks more at decision making and leadership with administration within the office. The Level 4 course is due to begin soon and I will be doing the course for approximately 18 months. 


If you are interested in becoming an apprentice and have some questions for Lauren, leave a comment below. 

Read 1136 times Last modified on Monday, 06 March 2017 17:19

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