Apprenticeships: 'We had next to no career guidance'

#InspiringApprentice Daisy Parker assumed apprenticeships were minimum-wage and manual jobs - until she started one

Daisy Parker

Daisy Parker had made a lot of assumptions about apprenticeships - until she started one herself

My name is Daisy Parker, I am 21 and I grew up in Kingston upon Thames and Granada in Spain.

I am currently doing a level 3 business and administration apprenticeship at Newable. The company provides small- to medium-size businesses with advice, properties, investment and loans. I have been there for nine months, and am lucky enough to now have a full-time position as a project coordinator.

Background: Minister backs #InspiringApprentices campaign

More inspiring apprentices: 'After my apprenticeship, I now plan to do a degree'

Quick read: 'The apprenticeship has exceeded my expectations'

I had never considered an apprenticeship

Before I discovered Whitehat, I had never considered apprenticeships. I went to a few interviews for admin jobs, which were extremely hard to get with no experience. I was looking online when I came across one of Whitehat’s apprenticeships. I realised I was really interested in some form of education, as university hadn’t worked out for me, and it seemed like a realistic approach to working in the City. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Whitehat; I was going in blind. Whitehat was exceptionally useful in guiding me through its programme and matching me to a suited company. I still can’t believe how friendly and helpful Whitehat has been.

We had next to no career guidance in school. Everyone was funnelled towards university, with help on how to write personal statements and how to apply to Ucas, but nothing about apprenticeships. Back in sixth form, I had all the assumptions that apprenticeships were minimum-wage and manual jobs, but this could not be further from the truth. I wish I had been taught all of this back in school.

I didn’t expect an apprenticeship to have so many responsibilities and high involvement in the workplace. I was expecting basic filing and tea-making, but it has exceeded all my expectations. Day-to-day for me usually includes a mix of attending meetings and reporting to project management and the team of advisers I work with. I also help the team prepare for audits and engage with our project funders, which is a tough responsibility. These are usually my core jobs, but this varies depending on the time of year. I really enjoy my job. I love the routine that comes with an office environment, and I’m always learning how to do new things and develop my skills.

Gaining respect

My line manager only works three days a week, but she is incredibly supportive of me. We have regular catch-ups and she is very understanding of how the apprenticeship works. The longer I have worked for Newable, the more trust and respect I have gained from the rest of my team. This team is my favourite part of coming into work every day; knowing that I am going to have a laugh and a productive day.

There are currently four apprentices who work in my office, so it is nice to share my experience. Whitehat is also incredibly social, so it is easy to meet plenty of other people in the same position as me. I currently have a few school friends at university, however they are finding the lack of support they get tricky. They are also worried about finding a job when they have no experience, something which I, as an apprentice, won’t have trouble with.

My family were incredibly supportive, as they knew it would be one of my best options to get into an office job with no experience. It sounds bizarre, but I missed education, and my parents knew that an apprenticeship would allow me to learn while I work, so they were very much for the idea. My friends were proud of me for exploring this option, too. They knew university wasn’t for me, so were happy for me that I am progressing well in my work and education.

Fuelling ambition

My apprenticeship has already taken me further than I ever thought it would, as I have already received a full-time position. It has introduced me to so many new contacts and friends, and taught me how to be a more mature and professional person. I have also learned so many new skills. In 10 years’ time, I would love to be working at the top of a firm. Hopefully, this will allow me to learn the ropes on how to run a business; as I will have previously acquired my fundamental knowledge from the apprenticeship. I would love to run my own company one day. However, I think I need to explore different fields of work first.

I would highly recommend an apprenticeship to anyone interested in learning and working. The skills you learn are valuable for the entirety of your working life, and they are something that you can’t learn from a textbook. It will give you friends for life and so many contacts, which could easily give you a lead to your dream job. Young adults don’t understand, until they are in the working world, the variety of job opportunities that are out there.

Daisy Parker is a level 3 business and administration apprenticeship at Newable and Whitehat. She tells her story as part of the Tes' #InspiringApprentices campaign


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