As National Apprenticeship Week comes to an end, our final interview of the week comes from another employee who has completed their apprenticeship programme with New Directions.
Melissa Brake, 20, works as an administrator for our Care and Support team in the Bryn Mawr office. She has worked at New Directions for 2 1/2 years and recently completed her apprenticeship in Business and Administration, Level 2.
How has the apprenticeship programme helped you progress your career?
I came to New Directions straight out of school with no experience in a working environment. Being on an apprenticeship programme helped a great deal with my confidence and as the programme went on I took on more and more responsibility.
How do you feel this has benefitted you compared to going down a traditional study route?
I was placed on a 6 week work experience placement at New Directions after leaving school at 18. After the placement, I was put on an apprenticeship and was lucky enough to be taken on permanently. Working in the field of the qualification I was undertaking gave me the chance to experience everything I was learning about.
Has the apprenticeship opened doors to other qualifications?
Yes, I’m currently undertaking my Level 3 in Business and Administration which I hope to complete this year.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others and if so, why?
Yes, definitely! I think it is a fantastic opportunity. Apprenticeships are a great way to ease you into a new environment or a new career. It helps you adjust to a working environment and gain a qualification at the same time.
What was the biggest learning curve for you in becoming an apprentice for New Directions?
Adjusting to a working environment was a challenge because it was completely new to me. I didn’t have any confidence at the start of my placement but having the support through my apprenticeship helped a lot!
How long did it take you to complete the apprenticeship?
It took me just over a year to complete my apprenticeship
What advice would you give to other young people looking for career options post 16?
Work experience placements and volunteering can help massively! It shows willing and helps to build confidence. A voluntary placement can be a foot in the door and can lead to a lot more opportunities.