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How an apprenticeship can help with your career development

Briggs is a supplier of the Combilift Warehousing Solutions

Briggs Equipment SHEQ Administrator, Dawn, completed a Business Administration Level 3 Apprenticeship to enhance her skills. In this interview Dawn explains how her apprenticeship has helped to accelerate her career.

Why did you decide to complete an apprenticeship?

I started a Business Administration Level 3 Apprenticeship in April 2020, when I was working for a previous employer. I had a career for 15 years in Learning Support in schools, where I was a Team Leader for Learning Assistants. One day I decided I wanted a new challenge so I moved to a compliance administration role first in a healthcare organisation, then to the Swimming Teachers Association. I wanted to develop my administration skills further though and validate my existing experience, and after a bit of research an apprenticeship seemed like the perfect option. An apprenticeship allowed me to hone my abilities on-the-job whilst working and the the course was paid for by my employer.

In October 2021 Briggs Equipment offered me a role as SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality) Administrator. It was the next step for me in developing within compliance specialism. Everyone was incredibly supportive and I was able to continue my apprenticeship when I started.

What is it like completing an apprenticeship?

I started my apprenticeship in April 2020,  but due to the Covid pandemic and lockdown, I had to take a short break. Thankfully I was able to pick up where I left off when things started to go back to normal.

It was not easy completing the apprenticeship, but I loved every minute! My manager at Briggs supported me by agreeing a specific time each week when I could work on my apprenticeship, and my assessor from Smart Training was amazing. We had 1:1 meetings via Microsoft Teams, where she would talk through the topic areas and remotely observe me undertaking activities which demonstrated the knowledge, skills and behaviours for the apprenticeship.

I found the apprenticeship qualification process straightforward as I had an online dashboard showing me what I needed to complete. I had to record my off-the-job learning, which was any activity I did at work outside of my day-to-day tasks. This helped me learn and develop in line with the apprenticeship – such as attending meetings, or being involved in projects, and I collected a portfolio of evidence demonstrating the administration activities I do in my job role.

To complete the apprenticeship I had to do an ‘End Point Assessment.’ This included an online knowledge test, and having an interview called a ‘professional discussion’ with an external assessor, who asked me about the portfolio of evidence I had collected. I was nervous, but the assessor was incredibly supportive and let me take my time to think about my answers.

About a week after the End Point Assessment, I received my results and found out I had been awarded a Distinction!

What did you gain from completing the apprenticeship?

The apprenticeship qualification has helped me gain recognition for the skills I already had, but also helped me learn and develop new techniques.

Doing the apprenticeship itself really develops your time management skills, as you have to learn to juggle work responsibilities, your apprenticeship tasks, as well as meeting deadlines. My calendar is so organised now! I use it to track all of the tasks I need to complete, but I also make sure I keep aside some time in my diary every day for those ad-hoc unexpected requests which pop up.

After completing the apprenticeship my manager said she had noticed a difference, and that although I had good admin skills before, the apprenticeship had enabled me to really master and enhance those skills, and to be more confident in my approach.

What would you say to colleagues who’ve never consider an apprenticeship qualification before?

I would really recommend an apprenticeship, the courses allow you to develop towards your next career goals or grow in your existing role. Apprenticeships are for anyone, and I would definitely consider doing another apprenticeship in future, for example in Team Leading or Management, to support me in the next steps in my career.

If you are interested in how an apprenticeship qualification could support your career development, contact [email protected] for further information.

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