This week is National Apprenticeship Week. In June 2014, New Directions employed Rachel Pearce, 24, as a Trainee Compliance Administrator who is currently completing an NVQ in Business Administration and an apprenticeship in Compliance Administration.
Rachel tells us why she chose to go down the apprenticeship route…
1) How did you hear about the Apprenticeship programme?
I heard about the opportunity to become a Trainee Compliance Administrator at New Directions from a friend who was working here at the time. She told me about the role and the apprenticeship scheme and I felt it would be something I enjoy and would give me a structured career path.
2) What will be the outcome for you at the end of the programme?
The NVQ will take me 18 months to complete and then an additional year to complete the apprenticeship. Following that I will be a fully compliant administrator and will continue my career path with New Directions.
3) How is the Apprenticeship programme different to traditional post 16 education?
I actually went down the BTEC route and then went onto university after my GCSE’s so I did the traditional route as well as now completing an apprenticeship programme. It is very different as you have to fit it in around full time work, however it’s a lot more structured and you are gaining valuable experience whilst getting paid.
4) How have you fitted in as part of the New Directions team?
I have been here around 9 months now and I am really enjoying it, everyone is really friendly.
5) Would you recommend an Apprenticeship to others and if so, why?
I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship programme to anyone. You get to live the job you are training for without getting in to debt! I had never worked in an office before working here so it gives you the experience, skills and confidence, as well as gaining experience in your chosen career. New Directions are really good at training and developing their staff so I know I have made a good choice working here.
6) What has been the biggest learning curve for you in becoming an Apprentice for New Directions?
As I had never had an office based job before, the change of setting was probably the biggest learning curve, as well as developing my professional online communication and telephone skills.
7) What advice would you give to other young people looking for career options post 16?
Evaluate all your options other than university. I enjoyed my university degree; however it hasn’t influenced what I am doing now. With an apprenticeship you can gain experience alongside training and make sure it’s the career you want to pursue. After graduating there weren’t any jobs in the area I had studied in, looking back I probably wouldn’t have gone down a degree route.