Once I had finished college, I became indecisive about my next next steps in life. I wanted to gain formal qualifications, but at the same time I knew I needed some experience in the workplace and some income too.
I then heard about the benefits of doing an apprenticeship, and began searching for opportunities in my local area. I found my apprenticeship, NVQ level 3 in Business Administration, through the London Borough of Sutton website. I was excited as I had heard positive things about working for the council, especially in regards to the benefits it offered, including valuable learning and development opportunities, fair pay and holiday, and above all, room to develop and progress your career.
On my first day of work at the council, I started off in the Human Resources department and was made to feel very welcome by all of the team, which was greatly appreciated given how nervous I was. I didn’t have any office experience prior to the apprenticeship, but I managed to settle in very quickly, as the team I was placed with were organised and there were lots of interesting tasks for me to take on. Throughout my apprenticeship I was well supported and respected by my colleagues who were very hands on and interested in what I was doing. I was fortunate to be exposed to a variety of different work within the recruitment team.
The apprenticeship experience for me was really positive, as it enabled me to develop a strength and passion for a field, and helped shape my decision on which career path to pursue. I was also satisfied with and enjoyed the NVQ element, as it was similar to A Level coursework but a lot more specific to my daily roles and responsiblities.
The icing on the cake for me was that my apprenticeship was debt-free, unlike going to university, whilst I benefitted from soaking up valuable knowledge, skills and abilities within HR. To add a delightful cherry to that icing, a vacancy became available in my team upon completition of my apprenticeship, and I was lucky enough to secure a permanent position within the HR team at the council. I have since progressed further into a more senior role, working as part of the Recruitment Consultancy Team.
“Ali joined us as an apprentice 6 years ago, straight from college and learned very quickly whilst working within the Recruitment team. She was conscientious and willing to learn with a 'can do attitude' and proved quickly that she would be an asset to Sutton. She progressed to the role of Recruitment Assistant and then subsequently Recruitment and Contracts Officer which has been a great development opportunity for her and has seen her supporting large procurement contracts across the UK for other Local Authorities, achieving significant savings for them in the age of austerity.
“Apprentices are vital to the future workforce and the development of our younger generation and I very much support the programme which has allowed me in the past 6 years, to mentor 5 apprentices within my team at Sutton, all of whom have gone on to successfully secure full time employment.”
Sarah Mortimer - Recruitment Consultancy Manager for Sutton & Merton Councils
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