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Why I became an Apprentice

Emily Williams, HR Administrator

How did you find out about apprenticeships? Your school? A family member?

I found out about this apprenticeship online. I was looking for a change in direction as I was previously a surf instructor and it came up as one of the options when searching for HR roles. Initially I wasn’t sure, as I thought I might be ‘too old’ for an apprenticeship having only ever been made aware of them when I was 16 and applying to college, but after looking into it and realising that was a huge misconception, the opportunity looked too great to miss! I’m so glad I applied.

What was the apprenticeship application/ recruitment process like? The process was clear, I was less nervous knowing exactly what it entailed. But even so, coming up to the beautiful campus with everyone seeming to know what they were doing, I was intimidated. It didn’t last long. The receptionists were friendly, the member of staff who met me, even the managers at the panel interview! It felt like more of a conversation that an interview. Some questions were tough, but you could feel they wanted you to do well. They also let me know really quickly how it went, so the anxious waiting didn’t last long.

What is a typical work day like for you?

A typical day for me, like most, begins with checking my inbox. I’ll then flag anything that’s important and get going, starting with the list of tasks that needed doing I’d written at the end of the previous day. Mostly, I’m processing overtime payments, looking at tax codes and making changes to staff details but I’m forever learning new things. I’m constantly challenged and my team spend so much time making sure I’m progressing. They also leave me to my tasks, I have way more responsibilities than I thought I would have before starting (in a good way).

What is the best thing about being an apprentice?

The best thing about being an apprentice is the fact that you’re working, you feel like a regular member of the team, but you also have so much support- both through the employer and the college. My days are so productive and rewarding and the learning just seems to happen naturally without me realising. I also get to go to college a day a week, which is great, hearing how apprentices at other organisations are finding things and just having a chat with people learning and have the same problems as me.

What would you advise someone considering an apprenticeship?

Don’t just consider it, apply! It’s the best investment in yourself you could make. Also don’t be afraid to ask questions, even before you sign up. Just find out as much as you can and every query you have, note it down and then ask. I’m sure it helps you learn so much faster and also makes you more accurate and productive with your work. I applied to a few apprenticeships before choosing Exeter, not every organisation will be right for you and you get such a feel of things when you go to the interview. Just make sure you really want to do it, you need to be self-driven and prepared to feel knackered for the first couple of weeks!

How would you describe yourself?

I’d describe myself as motivated, organised and focused. Also very chatty. And a fan of baking.