Learning in Lockdown: Laura tells us what it’s like being an apprentice in a global pandemic

“My career and personal development have grown astonishingly since completing my apprenticeship with Itec, I have grown in confidence and in knowledge”

The first thing that attracted me to an apprenticeship program was being able to work as I learn. This suited me more than being in a classroom environment, meaning I can use my studies and skills in a practical work setting. Also, another benefit that attracted me was you earn while you learn, which made me more independent as an individual.

I completed my Level 1 Business Admin course while at Itec Cardiff, I attended college one morning a week and attended my work placement 3 – 4 days a week. I started my Level 2 Business Admin Apprenticeship, in the same workplace as my Level 1 placement. This suited me well, as it increased my ability and skills, working at the same organisation for 3 years in a row, I grew in confidence and became more comfortable with my colleagues and getting to learn the ropes and systems. Once I completed my Level 2 qualification and passed this. I was able to continue to Level 3
Business Admin NVQ. I was welcomed with open arms into my job role as it benefited me working there to enhance my skills and qualifications, and benefited my employer as I was 17 years old when I started working there, so I brought fresh eyes to the admin office and a lot quicker with new technologies and systems and picked up new skills very quickly.

I always have the support of my NVQ Assessor, she is always there for anything I need. My Assessor gives me guidance and keeps me on track with my coursework. Also, she’s there for any worries or concerns I have either to do with my qualification or work or even in general. I always get feedback whether I have done an excellent piece of work or research or if I need to improve on anything. I have had the same assessor from the beginning of my Level 2 and I still have the same assessor now during my Level 3, which helps me a lot with continuity, as she knows what I have completed and my history in my apprenticeship workplace.

The benefits of an apprenticeship programme that worked for me and most likely others too, are:

  • It is like a job; you have a contract with the employers and treated as an actual member of the team. I got my monthly pay like everyone else I work with.
  • Where I attended my apprenticeship/work, it was easy for me to get to work as I live about 5 minutes away, so I didn’t need to use any of my wages on travel expenses.
  • I have a good work/home/study balance, meaning I can do my coursework in my spare time and still have time to go to work and do things with my family and friends.
  • Work at your own pace on your qualification, you can do as much or as little course- work, as long as your assessor makes sure you know that you’re on track to complete with your expected end date.
  • If you did not manage to pass your GCSE in English and Maths, you get the chance to work towards passing Level 1 and/or 2 in Essential Skills in Communication and in Application of Number which is an equivalent of a GCSE grade.

Before signing up for a Business Admin Level 2 Apprenticeship, I completed my Level 1 in Business Admin, at the end of this course I achieved my Level 1 Business Admin and my Level 1 in my Essential Application of Number Skills. When I completed my Level 2 Business Admin qualification, I achieved a pass in Level 2 Business Admin and Level 1 in Essential Communication Skills, and a Level 2 in Essential Digital Literacy Skills. I am currently working towards passing my Level 3 Business Admin, I have also passed my Level 2 Essential Communication Skills.

My career and personal development have grown astonishingly since completing the apprenticeship programme, I have grown in confidence and in knowledge, my employers allowed me to do more important work, as the more I knew and learned the more I was trusted with. As I completed my Level 1 and 2 Business Admin and currently working on completing my Level 3 NVQ, it opened more doors for me, if I did not have any of these qualifications, I would not have a chance of getting a permanent job in administration, because of these I successfully got appointed a job in admin with
the help of all of my experience, knowledge, and achievements, I was able to take up this job offer.

Lockdown has been difficult for everyone, but when it came down to carrying on with my NVQ, me and my assessor used to meet up in my workplace, but due to new restrictions and regulations, we kept in contact by making our catch-ups over the phone, and making allowances with my coursework such as my workplace were closed for a long period of time, I was unable to access evidence to go towards some of my Unit’s, so my assessor adjusted my coursework, letting me know what coursework I can do from home and still able to continue with my qualification. Due to the lockdown, I was given an extension on my Level 2 Essential Application on Number Skills, to take the pressure off completing it within the deadline.

 

 

Jamie Hopkins

Sam Pearcey