I was struggling a little with my A levels when I was at college and I'd lost motivation. I was looking for advice on other career paths but it was hard to know where to look.
Naturally a lot of my friends were going to university but I couldn't think of a subject I wanted to learn that thoroughly for three years and I didn't want to feel burdened by debt hanging over my head once I'd graduated especially as I was unsure of what profession I wanted to go into.
I'd heard about apprenticeships opportunities not through my college but through my youth club and I was drawn to the idea of working and training at the same time.
When the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) came to my college to talk about their apprenticeship programme I knew little about them. However it was great to hear about an apprenticeship route into a profession rather than a trade based occupation. I also knew it would be beneficial to train and work as well as getting an NVQ in Business Administration under my belt.
The interview process wasn't easy and I had to take part in a group interview, individual interview as well as doing a maths, English and psychometric test. It was daunting but I understand why employers need robust interview processes in place and it also allowed me to learn more about the organisation. The AAT are a membership body with a strong customer focus sitting at the core of what they do and I was intrigued to learn more.
I've been an apprentice for five months now and I've learnt so much from being in a busy working environment. I've been able to experience working in different teams such as marketing, IT and finance. It's been a great learning curve for me personally to know what areas of work I like and am good at as well as getting a firmer understanding of areas of work which don't suit my skill set. I've already got direction and loved working in marketing and communication.
I'm learning skills that I don't think I would have learned at university such as time management, managing varied workloads, taking responsibility for projects and my employer benefits from training me in a house style with skills needed to suit their business.
It's a huge benefit to directly apply the knowledge I'm gaining from my NVQ to the work I do in the office. It means I'm continually developing and building up confidence and can add more value as my apprenticeship progresses.
I would be lying if I said it was all plain sailing. Sometimes I can feel a little overwhelmed as it can be hard studying and working at the same time. I do have a mentor at AAT that I see a couple of times a month. I also have an assessor from my training provider Kaplan who I meet every 3 weeks and my assessor helps me with study support as well as getting me prepared for the end of year exam.
I'll never regret my choice to do an apprenticeship. I think I'm lucky to be in work. I'm reminded all the time how bleak the situation is with youth unemployment at an all-time high. There are so many graduates that are looking for work that I feel an apprenticeship is a good alternative option for young people unsure what to do or what career they want to go into.