National Apprenticeship Week: Beth’s Story

Beth Pickering, Apprentice

This week (February 8 – 14) marks this year’s National Apprenticeship Week – a week dedicated to celebrating the value that apprenticeships bring to individuals and employers alike, collectively building futures.

More so than ever, the Government has shown their support, recognising the challenges that the last year has presented.

The Government wants National Apprenticeship Week 2021 to be an opportunity to celebrate and promote the benefits of apprenticeships and to showcase the resilience of apprentices and employers during the pandemic.

As an apprentice myself, I am passionate about promoting apprenticeships; I get to see first-hand just how valuable these opportunities can be. With this in mind, I’ve been inspired to share my story and explain why choosing this route was a great decision for me.

First impressions count

Before Coronavirus took hold, back in the good old days, I was studying for my A-Level exams at South Hunsley Sixth-Form College. Inevitably, I was at the age where I had to seriously start considering my next move and was faced with the lifelong debate: university versus apprenticeship. 

As my college days were drawing to a close, I came to realise that apprenticeships were the more appealing option to me – I knew I wanted to dive straight into the working world and start earning to become more self-sufficient. This led me to get increasingly involved in apprenticeship events, in the hope of securing a role after my exams.

At a speed networking event organised by my Sixth Form and Hull Business Training Centre, I met Jess from Divine Clark PR. In all honesty, I didn’t imagine anything would come as a result of these discussions, but nevertheless I took it seriously and tried to keep an open mind talking to all of the local employers that attended.

A short while after this, my business teacher informed me that there was a position open at Divine Clark PR and of course I went for it, little did I know I’d be writing this article as their apprentice months later! I’d like to think I made a good first impression, both initially and at the interview and I was invited to a work-trial during the Easter holidays.

Perseverance pays off

March 2020 – Coronavirus hits – college gets closed, A-Levels cancelled, and unemployment is on the rise. This was a very unsettling time for all, but I particularly felt for my fellow school leavers, after relentlessly preparing for exams only for them to be scrapped. Having an abrupt end to my time at the place where I had spent the last 7 years was absolutely gutting. The end of college was supposed to mark the start of exciting new opportunities for us all, but instead I was filled with uncertainty.

The work-trial with Divine Clark PR was put on hold – everyone was working from home and it would have been a challenge to start a new role like this from home.

Nevertheless, I was determined not to let the opportunity pass me by. Over the duration of the summer, I kept in touch with Jess and my contacts at Hull Business Training Centre. Sure enough, this paid off and I got a call to say I could do some paid work experience from home throughout the month of August and start work in September.

This gave me the chance to get a feel for the role and allowed Jess and Leigh to decide whether I would be a good fit for the company. Looking back now I’m so glad that my determination got me to this point.

My advice for future apprentices

To all future apprentices, I’d like to share some thoughts that I have taken from the process so far:

  • Keep an open mind – don’t treat it as ‘just’ an apprenticeship, it is an opportunity to start a career
  • Throw yourself into your role – you will only get out what you put in
  • Be confident in your abilities – your employer hired you for a reason
  • Never be afraid to ask for help – it is accepted that you are still learning and your colleagues will want to support you

To any employers that are considering hiring an apprentice, it could be the best decision you make. Investing your time and resources into an apprentice will undoubtedly have a great return: a motivated individual with your company culture and values at heart. If you can provide a young person with a nurturing environment to grow and develop, I guarantee they will thrive as I am doing.

For more information on local vacancies, visit the Hull Business Training Centre website.

For further information about apprenticeships, visit HERE.