Why an apprenticeship was the perfect option for me
Category: apprenticeships, testimonial, Graduates and Apprentices, early careers, Government, Jobs in Government, Apprentiships, Cabinet Office, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial
At my school, university was very strongly recommended and it was the educational path I thought I was destined to follow. Therefore, I studied hard and after my A-Levels, began a Medical Science degree at the University of Leeds. However, during the summer and after my first year of undergraduate studies, I fell ill and was soon diagnosed with Leukaemia.
Having abandoned my studies, and after a year or so of extensive treatment, I found myself at 21 years old without a clear career path to follow. I did not particularly want to start a new university course and instead preferred the idea of beginning employment and earning a wage just as my graduate friends were doing. However, I was convinced that without a degree my career options would be very limited.
That is when I was first made aware of a Civil Service Apprenticeship Scheme. After doing some research, it seemed to be the perfect option. It would help me gain valued and esteemed employment experience as well as the chance to study for a qualification.
Having successfully secured a place on the scheme, I started a role within the Cabinet Office HR Team, doing a Level 4 Business Administration qualification. At first I was understandably nervous but my team were really nice and there was a great support system in place. The qualification added an extra dimension to my experience and I was able to build good relationships with the other apprentices.
During the apprenticeship, I was exposed to many different aspects of Human Resources. Initially, I worked within the recruitment team, learning the ropes and gradually was given more and more responsibility. I was then given the opportunity to work on the performance management process, HR employee relations and even ran a Voluntary Exit Scheme. My role linked well with my business administration studies and my tutor and the Apprenticeship Team were very helpful. I successfully finished my apprenticeship, within 18 months, with a distinction.
Cabinet Office HR created an inclusive and supportive environment where I could flourish. I was supported and mentored by senior staff within Cabinet Office and given real responsibilities and autonomy in order to learn and develop. The opportunities made available to me were invaluable, and I was able to build up my skills and competencies. My time with the team also solidified my desire to build a career in HR and the Civil Service.
6 years ago I was desperately ill, 5 years ago I was convinced that without a degree I would not find decent work but now my all past fears have been dispelled and I find myself on a really positive career pathway. Since completing my apprenticeship in 2016, I successfully secured multiple promotions within my team and as a Band A, I continue to work in HR Business Partnering which I still very much enjoy 3 years on. I decided to continue my professional development, and have recently completed my Post-Grad in HR Management CIPD qualification. This has given me a professional HR qualification and further enhanced my depth of knowledge in HR.
I would certainly recommend an apprenticeship to anyone thinking about it, or to hiring managers looking for resourcing solutions. I would say the best thing about my experience on the scheme was that I learned so many new skills and met so many amazing people, both from the apprenticeship and the job, which still help and support me today.
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