I did GCSE’s. I personally didn’t do that great – I did my maths, got a pass in that, and I did two English’s and got one pass and one fail. So, I came to JACE and they had no problems with me not passing one of my English’s, and I have now completed Level 2 in Functional Skills and am hopefully moving on to GCSE’s soon. They do help you a lot at JACE and I didn’t realise they could do that for you when I applied for an apprenticeship.
In a typical week, I work at Head Office on Monday and Tuesday with the Marketing team and I work at Graylaw House Training Centre on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with administration. I also go to workshop every other Friday from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. It’s nice to socialise with other people doing your course as well.
My tutor Natalie has been really supportive. She was my line manager as well as my tutor at the start, so I didn’t get away with anything! Without Natalie, I reckon I wouldn’t have finished my level 2 yet because she’s very pushy but it’s very good for getting it completed. She’s helped so much.
My colleagues all understand that I am an apprentice, so I’m going to ‘mess up’ at times and I’m going to have to ask questions 24/7. I think, at the start I couldn’t do anything without asking a question. I genuinely didn’t have a clue or knew what I was doing because I’d never been in this work environment before. From school and working in hairdressers to now, is a lot different. At first you don’t know what you’re doing – even sending an email out professionally, or making calls plus there’s policies and procedures you need to follow. It’s very difficult without help from your colleagues and, through being at JACE, they have helped so much. I don’t think I’ve felt scared to ask anyone a question how to do something. I’ve been working here a year now and am pretty confident and comfortable in where I work and I feel like I get along with everyone. So, just having that support really helps.
I generally prefer the whole atmosphere of working. A lot of people at 6th form and college say ‘Oh, it’s such hard work’ but I get up and go to work Monday to Friday 9 til 5, so when they start working they’ll realise that it is hard, but, to be fair, I’ve worked since I was 14, so I’ve always preferred working and now I get to do it full time, I prefer it so, so much more. You get treated differently, which I prefer because you get so much more responsibility and it makes you grow up so much more, which I have done since working here.
I’ve been here for a year and three weeks now – I was 16 when I started – so I’m nearly 18 now. If I could do anything differently, I would have applied to this apprenticeship as lot sooner. I found out about JACE about a month or two before I started here. Everyone I knew started at college, 6th form or at their job in September and I didn’t start until the end of October so there was about a two-month period where I didn’t do anything and I really regret that. I’ve caught up on it now though – I finished my Level 2 at the same time everyone should have finished school or college.
At school, no one knew anything about apprenticeships, which is why I like going to the schools for their career events now, so I can tell them that, a year on, ‘I’m only a year older than you but you can apply to an apprenticeship just as you leave school’. You don’t have to have A levels or go to college to become an apprentice, you really don’t – you can come straight out of school and work at level 1, 2 or 3 if you have a placement, it just depends on yourself really. I would definitely tell more people if I could!
Personally, I think if someone who has done an A level in Business and someone who has done a business apprenticeship both went for the same job, I think I would get it because you already have the experience of working in that atmosphere and the qualification to do it. I think A Levels are good for university but if you’re coming out of A levels and want to just do a job, then you can do that with an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is so much more relevant and it will help you more in the future unlike going from A Levels to a full-time job and not being able to study, not being able to have a day off, not being able to have the advantages of being an apprentice and the help you get given as an apprentice..In terms of my career I now know I want to do something in Business Admin or Marketing. There are so many ways you can bring across business admin to jobs you want. I’m carrying on with my Level 3, maybe even Level 4 if I can which is management, and will then figure out what I want to do from there. I have to finish my qualification before I think of anything else, but definitely something in business or marketing. I’m not a fan of just sitting there, doing nothing.
If I had to sum up an apprenticeship in three words, it would be: