Over the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has made it extremely challenging for universities, colleges and schools to provide a consistent standard of education to their students. With nearly 70% of the world’s learners affected by school closures, disruption to education has led to many young people missing out on gaining the much-needed knowledge and skills to ready themselves for the workplace. So are apprenticeships the solution to fill those gaps?
We caught up with one of our own apprentices to find out how they are benefitting from the scheme. Despite the uncertainty faced by many of her peers, Freya Ferguson has a bright outlook thanks to her apprenticeship with Premier Guarantee.
I had my last year of high school cut short due to Covid and spent the six months I should have been getting ready for my GCSEs indoors in lockdown. Luckily, I passed all of them without having to sit them! I then started working here in September 2020 as an assistant in the Learning and Development Team. I’d never had a job before. I’ve loved every second of it.
I like that everyone shares the same vision and are dedicated which creates a really strong work environment for me to work in. The support I get off my team when I need it is amazing. I also really enjoy being able to help others.
I wanted to work in learning and development so much because it’s needed in any business. You can learn skills for life on the job. Learning and development can help people gain skills in training sessions. They also help companies gain and retain top talent in employees and it also improves productivity within the business.
At the moment I am still unsure what my career goal is, I know at some point I would like to enter the world of training others and would also like to go to uni.
A typical day for me is monitoring the Learning and Development Team’s inbox and answering calls and queries from employees. I also manage the Chartered Insurance Institute qualification process so I may be ordering study texts or getting staff signed up for an exam. A big part of my job at the moment is helping out with our new internal learning management system, MD Academy. I help out with corporate inductions that are currently held virtually and manage the new starters, leavers and appointments.
I have learnt so much in the last ten months but if I had to pick three they would be: customer service, communication skills and a lot of design/creative skills.
A huge benefit is getting into employment earlier – there’s lots of potential for you to progress in your career quickly.
Skills I would suggest for any young person would be: communication, empathy and interpersonal skills.
A big challenge for me when I first started was writing emails. I never needed to send emails ever in my life before, it was a big change. I found online learning tools really useful, I’ve pinned notes next to my computer so I can quickly reference them. I also looked closely at emails that I received from others and started using similar formats and wording.
Staying organised was also a challenge. I started using a to-do list which has proved to be the most effective way of keeping on top of this.
I’d say be yourself as much as possible and show the potential employer all the skills you have to offer. Do some research on the company and use that knowledge to your advantage.
I go to the gym as much as possible after I finish work. I’ve also started taking driving lessons which takes up quite a lot of my time. I love going out with my family on walks to the beach and to Chester.
If Freya’s experiences as an apprentice has inspired you, why not find out how you could make your mark by working at Premier Guarantee?