|Qualification:||Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship|
Alice Payne completed her Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship with IPS and employer Volker Highways this year, 2020.
I went to Sixth Form at my Grammar School, but I didn’t finish my 1st year as I didn’t enjoy it, so I left and had to think about what I wanted to do as the plan for me was always to finish Sixth Form. I thought about college but realised this would just be roughly the same concept of Sixth Form which I didn’t enjoy, so it was actually my mum who found some Apprenticeship leaflets that I had brought back from careers fairs while I was in school and that got me to investigate Apprenticeships further. I studied Maths, Economics and Art whilst at Sixth Form and so I decided to go down the artistic pathway and started a Hairdressing Apprenticeship I found on Indeed, I realised I much preferred the Apprenticeship training route as you get to learn on the job and get paid in a working role. However, after a year and half I knew hairdressing wasn’t the career I could see myself in for the rest of my life and that I was interested to work in an office. I thought a Business Administration Apprenticeship would be a good first step in a business and so I started looking on the gov.uk Find an Apprenticeship website which I found really easy to use, it displayed all of the necessary information clearly and you can filter results to your interests and needs, this is where I saw the position at Volker Highways, applied and got accepted.
I’m an Office Administrator here at Volker Highways and my Apprenticeship has really taught me a lot about office skills. I did GCSE IT at school, but I’ve learned so much more on the computer, especially with developing my Excel skills. I get to see work in practice rather than just theory which helps. I also take minutes from meetings, something you never get taught about in school and I really enjoy working as a team which I must do a lot, working with different departments. I’ve developed my organisational skills, even working with another field of the business in the ‘lighting’ depo helping put an efficient filing system in place.
The Apprenticeship has really benefited my confidence, I have had anxiety over the years but talking to new people and as I’m on reception, front of house as the first-person people will see, it’s really helped this and developed my customer service skills as well. I’ve also learned how to take a more professional approach within work. Most of my friends went to University and even though we are the same age, I’ve got my own home and dog and I have already started my working career, so I feel a lot more independent. I feel like a lot of what I have learned in my Apprenticeship I can take and use outside of work too. Since completing my Apprenticeship I’ve been giving more responsibility, taking over more meetings, so taking more minutes and a lot of requesting paperwork and closing jobs, plus I will be helping to arrange a charity calendar this year for the first time, so Volker Highways can raise money for the local community. My line manager has also helped me organise monthly – bio monthly donations to a homeless shelter in Chatham as well on behalf of Volker Highways, where we have boxes at the front for people to donate.
As well as gaining my qualification I have also developed and built my skills up in different ways. We have gone on an EDI (Equality and Diversity) training course through the company, I also have gotten to try different roles through covering work when people are off, for example a Permit Officer, so I received training on a council permit system and have seen different roles and software’s within the company. I have also learned about Safeguarding and IPS’s Topic of the month, key little subjects about life in general from my IPS Trainer, that helps day to day as well as in our Apprenticeship which is so beneficial to know and help us on in our career. The learning aspect of the Apprenticeship has been very good too. My IPS Trainer (Ellie) would give me resources if I needed them and would be available to contact if I had any questions. I’ve also had such good support from my company who gave me 1 day a week of training and I’ve enjoyed having that contrast of a teacher type role, giving you theory of things and then the fact you can also put what you have learned in a visit into practice and my Line Manager/Mentor was always good at going through work so I can see it in practice, which helped my development. It’s also been helpful having a Trainer as Ellie has also gave me advice and guidance about different pathways to take now and what kind of Apprenticeships are on offer that I could progress to, as well as my company have been talking to me about progression, it’s great having the support from different avenues.
I would love to progress myself further and do another Apprenticeship. I really enjoy working here at Volker Highways and would like to stay here, but I would really like to progress into something more mathematical and speaking with my manager the relevant role here which meets this will be a Quantity Surveyor Apprenticeship that I’m looking to progress in. The company have been brilliant at letting me do another Apprenticeship and to find something that is relevant for myself and the company. In fact, they already have a Quantity Surveyor Apprentice here who started as a Business Administration Apprentice. Unfortunately, IPS do not deliver this programme but I wouldn’t hesitate to work with IPS again in the future, as the working relationship with my Trainer has been great. My goal for 5 years’ time would be to complete another Apprenticeship at a higher level than I have now and progress my skill set.
Apprenticeships are a great foundation to build your career, giving you confidence, offering you more support and gaining that work experience. Apprenticeships may take longer as you’re doing the working alongside the education, but you can end up at the same destination as a graduate. I believe Apprenticeships are better as you have the experience rather just the qualification and you haven’t got the debt University brings, plus you can still work up to a degree/master’s level within an Apprenticeship. You know you’re doing the work right rather than just getting the work, what I mean by this is that practically I can put the work into practice and understand it rather than just write about how it should work but not actually put it into practice. Apprenticeships open a wide range of pathways and a Business Administration Apprenticeship is a great way to get into an industry and learn how a company works to then develop yourself further.
We wish Alice all the best in her career!