We were so proud of all our achievers who graduated at the prestigious ceremony organised by Surrey County Council, ALPS and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) at Guildford Cathedral last week. In front of a huge audience of more than 500 family, employers and training providers, N&B Training had 29 apprentices take part in the event, the largest share of apprentices there!
Jonathan Lord, MP, gave a speech and said that "It was a great honour to be asked to speak at the graduation ceremony. The young men and women were rightly proud of their achievements and it was wonderful to see the warm support they received from their families. I'm delighted that the Government is sponsoring more high quality apprenticeships every year and I am equally pleased to see so many local colleges and employers getting involved. I wish these young people every success in their future careers - I feel sure that they will do very well."
This is the second ceremony of this kind so next year, we're working towards an even bigger representation of brilliant apprentices!
The title is as it sounds, I am no longer an apprentice!
I have successfully completed my Business Administration and Functional Skills qualifications. Unfortunately this means I will no longer be working at N&B Training as it is best for me to launch myself into the significantly large world of business putting everything I have learnt into action which is really exciting. Thankfully N&B, as usual, have been very supportive towards the decisions I have made and I really wish to say a huge thank you to all the team. It has been such a positive experience and as I have always stated in these blog posts, I have gained the most valuable working experience in my life!
So for the last time chaps, make sure to check out all of the apprenticeships available at N&B Training, you can earn whilst you learn!
It's that time of the year where year 10 and 11 students (age 15 and 16) start to decide what they want to focus on as their career. As they contemplate every option, the main focus seems to be A-Levels and university. This is where I come in! I was invited back to my old school to talk to small groups of Year 10 students about the apprenticeship route.
What did I tell them about apprenticeships? The truth - apprenticeships are here for young people to start their career in their desired industry whilst gaining the recognised qualification. The main question that was asked was surrounding the much higher level of a degree, however you can now get a degree through an apprenticeship! So rather than paying all of the fees for university and gaining all the debt, you can get paid to get your degree instead. This is through the level 4, 5 and 6 qualifications. On top of getting paid and not gaining any debt, you will also be gaining a huge amount of experience with a company, therefore upon completing the degree level apprenticeship, you have a good chance of becoming a full-time employee with the company.
One point that I have noticed fairly frequently over the past few months is that a large amount of students don't understand the importance of apprenticeships and how you can do an apprenticeship in nearly anything. There are only a couple of subjects that cannot be completed as an apprentice, for example becoming a doctor or a lawyer, but you can be an apprentice in nearly everything else. So instead of gaining debt, earn the money, get the qualification and the experience, after all, your first full time job is the best experience!
I think my visit back to school was very successful and the students left with a much bigger understanding of the apprenticeship option of employment.
As you may know by now, as an apprentice you have to complete a qualification related to the work you are doing. In my case I am completing a level 3 NVQ in Business Administration including Functional Skills in English, Maths and ICT.
A few months back I wrote a post about my progress and how I am coming along nicely. Well now a little more of an update on this, I am nearly finished! Thanks to the awesome guidance from my Training Coordinator and my colleagues, I have been able to complete quite a large amount of work each month! Unfortunately for my TC, she will have to mark all of this!
Although I am glad my qualification is coming to an end, I would love to progress myself and gain more qualifications in order to further improve my knowledge of all aspects of business and maybe even find a department to specialise in - there is too much choice!
So, I believe this post is in order as it is a bank holiday weekend this weekend (*cheers*), so I shall be celebrating in style! As you may have read in one of my previous posts I absolutely love to watch and play ice hockey so this weekend I will be doing both! On Friday evening I shall be having an American-style BBQ at a friend’s house, jumping up and down cheering my team on in the NHL playoffs (Washington Capitals!). For those that don't know hockey, the NHL is the 'big league' over the pond in America and Canada and the playoffs hold the biggest prize of the season, the Stanley Cup, “desired by many, won by few” is a good statement I believe!
As I also said I will be playing ice hockey - I will be playing in a match. Well, I say ‘playing’, it has been quite a while since I last played so I will most likely be causing more trouble to my own team than the others! However, it is all for fun until we start losing, then it gets serious because I hate losing! Jokes aside, it is a match in memory of a player from the opposing team who unfortunately passed away in the night after one of our matches so we have made a charitable event to have a charity game for the cup every year (unfortunately we couldn't get a cup as large as the Stanley Cup)!
I hope this gives a little insight into the life outside work as an apprentice! We do have lives and we do enjoy our spare time!
A snap of the team after the game
For people working or looking to work in an office environment, the empty tray feeling is definitely the best! During National Apprenticeship Week I had a talk with a group of pupils on our pre-apprenticeship Steps-to-Success programme and one pupil asked the brilliant question, “as an apprentice, what is your motivation to come into work every-day from Monday-Friday 9-5:30?”, to which my instant reaction was “to empty my tray!” This of course was said in a joking manner because unlike some administrators, I don't often have an overloaded tray but when it is empty, it is a beautiful sight!
Leading on from this I answered the question with what I feel to be the reasoning behind following the apprenticeship programme as a route to employment and my motivation to turn up at work everyday - firstly, you gain the most valuable on-the-job experience that you will ever gain, due to it (in my case) being your first ever full time job in the industry that you are trying to find a career in. As an apprentice, it is not only your job to learn the new skills needed to complete the job but to show that you have the skills and the drive to complete the job to the best of your ability. This in turn will not only give you a better chance of having a full time permanent job at the end of the apprenticeship, but if the company can't take you on full time, you have a company that knows you work hard to get tasks completed and could get a really good reference for your next job from there!
Disclaimer to the management: it is not a common occurrence to have an empty tray!
The week has come! It is all smiles here at N&B Training because National Apprenticeship Week has arrived!
The 2015 National Apprenticeship Week started on Mon 9th March and will run through to Friday the 13th March and is focused on promoting the increasingly popular vocational education route of apprenticeships.
After doing some research, I managed to find some pretty interesting facts about apprenticeships since 1914. This included the fact that 100 years ago, an apprentice could be summoned to court for being 'idle' or having a 'bad attitude'. Luckily for me, I make sure I am always busy getting the weekly work completed. Another really cool fact is that since 2010 there have been over two million apprenticeship starts in England. This is a huge number and really shows how it has come to be one of the best employment routes for younger people. To build on this, between August 2014 and the end of October 2014, there were 147,500 apprenticeship starts - this is a huge number of people for only 3 months!
As it was stated in my job description, I am to assist the Business Development team with paperwork for new learners taking on apprenticeships with us here at N&B Training. However with my progression in my job role moving forward at a faster pace than expected, I am now working with the Business Development team every Monday.
This is a huge responsibility for me because it includes me reading through and pre-screening applicants for the apprenticeship vacancies that we advertise. Personally I find this really interesting because you can pick up on the many different ways people sell themselves and show their skills, whereas some people may not sell themselves as much as they could. In some sense this is putting a “50% off” price tag on yourself! If I could give you any advice for applying for an apprenticeship, make sure you fill out everything and show your interest in the particular industry that you are applying for and expand on all of your interests/answers—there is nothing worse than an empty application form!
This post is brought to you by the brilliant planning and sneaky surprise skills of my mentor and manager, Caz. After the chilly walk into work this morning with some cake for my colleagues, I had finally arrived at the warm comfy office. The usual routine - I went in the elevator to the top floor, put in the door code and there it was, my desk had been re-decorated. It was quite a surprise and I did not expect any of it. I had balloons with 21 printed on, a happy 21st birthday banner, and happy birthday ‘shiny's’ thrown across my desk, though these will be a pain tomorrow clearing them all up!
On another note, I want to say a huge thank-you to all the staff at N&B for my birthday present and making my birthday one to remember!
My 21st birthday is approaching and I'm not as excited as I expected myself to be. This could be because I'm more excited about the takeaway dinner on my birthday than actually turning 21! So what’s the big deal about turning 21? Because I'm not so sure myself, I asked Google this question and found some surprising results. Living in the UK I can understand why some people question the 'awesomeness' of turning 21 due to the current legal age to vote being 18. It was previously 21 which is one of the only reasons people may have been excited. It seems to be more of an important event in America due to the legal age to buy alcohol being 21. I also found that 21 is the age you are seen as independent and that you do not depend on your parents, so as young people do, they celebrate it with a huge party (note that I still won't be doing this, I will be much happier with the takeaway dinner with my family!)
One thing I must remember on my birthday of course is to bring in cake for my colleagues. I have noticed over the few months that the staff in the office love some cake every now and again so I will have to make sure the cakes are perfect seeing as we haven't had any in a while!
I'm nearly halfway through my apprenticeship here at N&B Training and all I can say is WOW it has flown past! In all seriousness I can happily say I enjoy coming into work everyday, all of my colleagues make it fun and I actually enjoy the tasks that I complete on a daily basis. There may seem to be a couple of mundane tasks such as taking out the rubbish or walking to the post office in the rain, but hey, after nearly 21 years in England, I'm more than used to this weather! On the brighter side my qualification is coming along really well and I am handing in a good amount of work every visit I have with my Training Coordinator and colleague, Louise.