Well, where do I begin? I suppose I'd better start by explaining the reason why I wanted to write this blog post.
We’re currently recruiting for an Admin Apprentice and during one of the interviews I talked through how I got to where I am today. This conversation reminded me of how great a path apprenticeships can be for young people, it is certainly something that I am passionate about. Given that last week was National Apprenticeship Week, I thought I'd write a little something about it!
My journey begins
To give you a bit of background, I left school and didn't want to do A Levels. Instead, I started to look at working and doing an apprenticeship - I was excited about this, but, as I'm sure you can imagine, my old-school grandparents weren't impressed! In their mind, the only way to do well in life was to go to college and do A Levels, before progressing to University to gain a degree before getting a job. But that wasn't for me. I was determined to do an apprenticeship, and that I did.
A month after leaving school, I started work as an Admin Apprentice at a company close to where I lived. There can be stigma around apprenticeships and the low wages, but I looked at it as a way to get my foot on a career path. I was also earning more than my friends who were at college full-time.
I quickly progressed through my apprenticeship, gaining both my NVQ level 2 and 3 in Business Administration and Leadership and Management and advanced my career when I moved companies to a small marketing company to manage their office.
It was then that I realised that my qualifications were equivalent to A Levels and I was able to apply for University. I completed my application forms, never thought I would be accepted, but I gained offers from three local universities. I opted for the more convenient option to get to at rush hour, as I would be going for evening lectures after work.
That was it - I found myself on the same path of education as I would have if I had done my A Levels. It meant giving up two nights a week to lectures from 6 until 9 o‘clock after work, as well as evenings and weekends to do assignments. It required a lot of dedication, but I was determined to gain my degree.
My arrival at Return on Digital
During that time, I got offered a job as an Account Manager at a company in Manchester I decided to take this as a way to progress my career further in the city, especially given that Manchester is the place to be for digital! I was there for just under nine months before applying for the Account Manager role at Return on Digital, I got offered the job and started in November 2012.
It was from September last year that my dedication to my degree was put to the test, when I was trying to write my dissertation and complete my last couple of modules. I have so much to thank Return on Digital for - from my colleagues who got me through those months, our content team helping with proofreading and especially our CEO Guy Levine constantly motivating me to carry on.
It was through blood, sweat and tears that I did it. I have to admit that the last three months were the hardest, but I completed my degree in December, four and a half years after starting it. It was also quite nice to know that the people I had gone to school with, those who had done their A Levels and degrees, were now fighting with numerous people for limited graduate jobs.
The next Apprentice
It was during this time that I saw an opportunity for an Apprentice at Return on Digital. Following discussions with Guy and Andy Venables, our General Manager, we decided to recruit. Excitingly, our current vacancy for an apprentice will give me the opportunity to train the apprentice and gain my assessor qualification.
So there you have it, that is why I am such an advocate of apprenticeships. I now have over six years’ experience in a industry that I love. I will be graduating in the summer with a First Class BA Honours Degree in Business Management - not forgetting that the once-was-an-apprentice will soon be training future apprentices!
To find out more about the Apprentice vacancy and other available roles at Return on Digital, visit our Join Us page today.