Emily Roberts, Recruitment Administration Apprentice (Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship)
Why did you choose to become an apprentice?
After getting a Diploma in Health and Social Care at Exeter College, I decided that it wasn’t for me and I wanted to consider my options and see what else was around. An apprenticeship was appealing to me as it is a fixed-term position where I am learning whilst getting experience at an organisation. I didn’t want to apply for a job where the organisation would expect me to have the experience and knowledge already. By doing an apprenticeship, it allows you to learn at your own pace and work your way from the bottom.
Where did you start when you were applying for your apprenticeship in terms of research or other preparation?
I noticed the advert online and I could see straight away that the University looks after their staff and they have benefits in place to do this – e.g. Staff life (Includes discounts, NUS and Exeter Rewards Card). The university has a brilliant reputation and I could see that it would be a great place to work. To prepare for my interview, I made sure to be on time and ready to meet the panel. I tried to control my nerves so I could come across well to the panel members. I knew that there would be a test included as part of the interview. I couldn’t plan for it as I wasn’t informed of what the task would include. Again, I tried to stay as calm as possible to help me focus on what I needed to do.
What is it like being an apprentice?
As an apprentice, I don’t feel any pressure from my team. When I first started, I had no experience in working in an Administration role, so the team were very understanding and they were happy to train me up. They were also happy to answer any questions that I had, which made me feel at ease when working. I feel very much a part of the team and I get on really well with the people in the team. A typical day for me involves handling the inbox with the other administrators, drafting contracts, setting up online recruitment approvals (eSR1s) for Managers that want to recruit, sending reference requests and helping the leads and coordinators.
How do you balance studying whilst working at the same time?
I make time during the week for college work and I will always just let the team know that I need to focus on that for a while. I often log out of my emails just so I don’t get distracted from my college work. In September last year, I started going to college once a week, but once my exams had finished, we didn’t have to go to college anymore. This meant 5 days a week at the University. Technically I still make up 20% of my week by completing my coursework.
What is the best thing about being an apprentice?
I love the fact that I am learning whilst working. I am never put under pressure by my team as they understand that this is my first full-time job and I am not as experienced as other members of the Recruitment Team. I receive support from my Skills Officer, Claire, who visits me every so often to make sure I am getting on ok and that I am still enjoying work at the University. It is really nice to speak to someone out of the organisation and I can be honest with her if something has happened at work.
When you are at work, how supported do you feel by your employer? Can you give me some examples of the type of help they give you?
I feel supported by my team as they always allow me time to do my college work, even when things are busy in the office. As much as I have just got to get on with my college work independently, the team always offer help and support if I am stuck with anything. I also feel supported, as I know that my line manager is always there for me if I need to have a chick chat with them or if something is wrong. They often put 1-1 meetings in my calendar so we can share updates and have a catch-up.
What would you advise someone considering an apprenticeship?
I would say to go for it! An apprenticeship is great if you are still not sure what career path you want to follow. Usually, apprenticeships are 12-18 months and after you get the qualification, then you are able to go onto something different if you fancy it. There are so many different apprenticeships out there, so whatever sort of work you are looking for, you will be able to find it.