Apprenticeship Champion Of The Year Chloe Gailes

Introducing this week’s apprentice..

Name: Chloe Gailes

Age: 28

Job Title: Project Lead

Company: Project Lead

Apprenticeship: Barclays Technical Apprenticeship: including NVQ level 2 and 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Business and Administration

What's a typical day like for you?

Working as apprentice at Barclays in many ways has been the same as working a normal full time role as a Barclays’ employee. My typical day involved working on projects as part of my team, giving demonstrations of Business Intelligence (BI) tools to the business, performing development work on BI tools and mentoring other apprentices. At the beginning of the scheme my role also included numerous group apprentice objectives and the delivery of presentations to potential apprentices in local colleges. For the first year, one day of each week was also dedicated to studying an NVQ level 3 at a local college. In the early stages of the apprenticeship I also attended numerous technical training courses.

Since completing my Advanced Apprenticeship, my role and day to day work has not changed significantly, however I have an increased level of responsibility and workload. I am now studying for a foundation degree and have half day ‘release’, away from the business on a Monday, where I attend lectures at university until 8:30 pm. I now try to spend even more time mentoring the current apprentices, to help them reach their potential on the scheme.

What has been the most memorable day of your apprenticeship so far?

Winning Apprentice Champion of the year this November in the National Apprenticeship Awards! When I started my Apprenticeship over two years ago, I had set a personal goal for myself to achieve with regards to my target career position (grade), although I managed to exceed this I still never would have imagined that I would be nominated and then win such a fantastic award.

Why did you decide to become an apprentice?

I left school at age 18, and worked in series non career roles and did some travelling, before getting a facilities job at age 22 for a nuclear power company. I spent three years in the company and gained a good level of responsibility. Although I enjoyed my job, I had reached a progression barrier and knew that I wanted to form a successful career in an industry I found more exciting, so I made the career choice to take a step back in order to progress further in the Technology industry.

I seized the opportunity to join a Barclays Apprenticeship at age 25, as it allowed me to work in a role I had no prior experience with, extend my learning and gain the opportunity to progress at a quicker rate. I took this as a considered risk as it initially involved accepting a pay cut and reduced responsibility. However this risk was worth taking as I have gained an enormous amount through my Apprenticeship with Barclays in the long run.

What are the best things about being an apprentice?

I was able to enter into a very skilled industry and begin to work my way up the career ladder whilst learning and developing new skills. There is also a great support network immediately available to you, both peers and senior members who invest time and effort in helping you to succeed.

What are the best things about working in the industry you work in?

The technology industry moves very quickly and I have been lucky enough to be involved in projects developing exciting new BI tools within the bank. I have been able to work with and learn from lots of very skilled individuals. The industry is very interesting and flexible, allowing you to become involved from a technical or business perspective.

What's the most surprising thing you've learnt during your apprenticeship?

The amount of accountability and responsibility given to me as apprentice within Barclays was surprising but also reassuring, it showed the confidence and trust that the business had in me and the apprentices in general.

What would you say to someone thinking about applying for an apprenticeship?

Definitely apply and commit to it. Apprenticeships are an excellent opportunity to start a career path and learn and hone new skills whilst you are earning. They are the perfect platform for entering into a skilled industry with little or no skills.

What do you think are the biggest myths about apprenticeships?

The biggest myth is that apprentices are given little responsibility and the mundane tasks that no one else wants to do. This is simply wrong, with the right employer and your commitment to achieve an Apprenticeship can be an excellent way to start a successful career.

What do you expect to be doing in 10 years time?

10 years seems a very long way away! However in the future I hope to continue to move up the career ladder within Barclays and take on people management responsibilities. I would like to continue my work to encourage and promote apprentices and eventually support apprentices within my own team.

Why an apprenticeship rather than university?

My path to an Apprenticeship was slightly different to the majority of my peers as I worked in corporate business previously. However I am extremely pleased that I took the risk to leave my job and start an Apprenticeship. I have now forged a career with lots of potential for progression and job satisfaction.

What advice would you give someone leaving school or college now?

Definitely consider the option of completing an Apprenticeship. It’s a great way to enter into a sought after industry; you can earn whilst you learn; you will meet lots of great people and be supported all the way. You can create a great career with lots of progression prospects without accumulating the debt associated with University.

If you are a few years into a job and don’t feel it is progressing I’d encourage older people to consider an Apprenticeship too – if your career isn’t what you want it to be, it may be worth the risk of taking a step back to leap forward.

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