National Apprenticeship Week 2015: Meet the apprentices!

rebecca-daft“I don’t know what I’d be doing right now if I’d not found this apprenticeship. It’s really set me on track to something new…” – Rebecca Daft, Vision Apprentice

Apprentice Rebecca thriving in community wellbeing role

This week (9-13 March) is National Apprenticeship Week – a celebration of the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. Rebecca Daft explains more about how choosing an apprenticeship has opened new doors and career opportunities.

When 22-year-old Rebecca was presented with a range of study options for her future, she felt overwhelmed. But it was looking more closely at what an apprenticeship could offer that turned her career path around.

Rebecca, from Skegby, Sutton-in-Ashfield, said: “I pretty much felt studied-out! I’d gone from doing my GCSEs, straight to A-Levels and then I took my Level 3 Business Studies diploma at West Nottinghamshire College. I loved my time at college and began looking for jobs after I’d completed the course.

“The frustrating thing was that every job I looked at applying for needed experience, and I’d not got this as I’d been studying and not working. It got me re-thinking my future too.”

Not only did Rebecca have the opportunity to study at Birmingham School of Arts to study drama after getting good grades in this subject at school, but she also had the option of taking a degree in business management at West Nottinghamshire College. She felt there was just too much choice.

“I knew my heart wasn’t into doing the degree or going to Birmingham and getting into the competitive performing arts industry or running into debt, so I looked at the Vision Apprentices website and read more about what an apprenticeship entailed,” she explained.

“I saw the business administration apprenticeship vacancy with Ashfield District Council and I just dived in at the chance to apply.”

Rebecca felt the apprenticeship at the council was something that would provide her with that all-important work experience, a wage and a recognised qualification. She is employed directly by Vision Apprentices – the apprentice recruitment service of West Nottinghamshire College – and hosted by the authority.

Rebecca spent the first four months working in the organisation’s corporate communications and corporate performance departments  before moving on to its community wellbeing team. It is there that she found her professional grounding and thrived on getting stuck into a busy and varied role.

She said: “The team I work in is responsible for the health of the whole community and stages events to get the public involved, whatever their age or ability. We promote and organise walks for the elderly or sporting groups for the young to engage in, and being a sporty person myself I really enjoy it.

“I’m getting really involved in the publicity side of things and I’m enjoying working with an outside design agency to get banners and posters produced. I’m also taking a lead on the new Active Ashfield website and it’s great to be given this responsibility – it’s really improved my confidence and to have people come to me for advice makes me feel valued and proud.”

Carol Hallam, community wellbeing team leader at the council, is very impressed with Rebecca’s progress and integration with the team.

She said: “What a professional young lady Rebecca is. She fitted in so well with the team and we’ve really watched her confidence grow as she’s taken on every task. She’s more than capable of leading on projects and we’re amazed at how organised she is.

“When she first joined us in the summer, she lacked a little confidence in herself, but we’ve watched this grow and she now engages really well with everyone in the team and with members of the community at public events.”

Rebecca is set to complete her apprenticeship in April and take the next step in her career by applying for a Level 3 apprenticeship in social media and digital marketing at neighbouring authority, Mansfield District Council.

She said: “The whole study process with my apprenticeship combined with the work experience has really helped my progress.

“I don’t know what I’d be doing right now if I’d not found this apprenticeship. It’s really set me on track to something new and I feel I’m learning so much – not just about the role and local government but about myself.”

Francine O’Sullivan, placement officer at Vision Apprentices, is equally proud of Rebecca’s achievements.

She said: “Rebecca has made great progress over the last year, both in her career and also on a personal level. She has grown in confidence, and has taken on board the positive feedback she has received from all areas.

“She’s developed her business administration skills to a high level and is self-motivated, flexible, adaptable, and an asset to any employer who would be lucky to have her in their workforce.”

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