National Apprenticeship Week - Louise's Journey
Our very own apprentice!
For National Apprenticeship Week 2024, we thought we'd start the week off by speaking to our very own Commercial Training Manager Louise, who is currently undertaking an apprenticeship herself. We asked a couple of questions to see how she's getting on and what her thoughts were about taking on an apprenticeship in adult life. Here's what she had to say:
So Louise, tell us abit about what you do at Universal Skills?
I am the commercial training manager at Universal Skills. I look after the awarding bodies and the journey of our commercial learners in smart, electrical and renewables training.
How did you get into what you're currently doing?
I started my USC life 9 years ago as a new wife, as a part-time receptionist. Throughout the years, I have evolved through numerous roles including admin support, office manager, operations support manager and now- A mum of two, working Full-time as Commercial training Manager.
You're currently undertaking an apprenticeship, could you tell us abit more about it?
I am currently mid-flight on my level 5 operational manager apprenticeship. I started my apprenticeship just over a year and a half ago to develop my knowledge and skills in areas that support my personal development and the growth of the company.
As someone who hasn't been in education for a while, how are you finding being an apprentice?
I didn’t quite know what being an apprentice would be like and so I went in with an open mind ready to be the one sat behind a desk again looking up at the tutor in front of me. Let me tell you…. it was not what I was expecting!
The work is set to me on my online portfolio, and I am the one responsible for the learning and assignments. My tutor was not in the classroom delivering lessons and holding my hand as I had expected, but rather a phone call or email away.
‘I’m on my own with this’ I thought, which was initially frightening, but as I have been working through the assignments, I have come to understand that I am in control of my own work, and it does give me the confidence to develop myself independently. The support is available as and when I need it with me leading my own progression and pace and I have surprised myself at what I am capable of.
How are you planning and preparing for your End Point Assessment?
EPA has recently been on my mind, and I was starting to prepare myself. However, I am in the unfortunate position that my current provider no longer delivers my apprenticeship standard so once I have secured a new provider, I will start preparing for EPA which for me includes a business project and professional discussion. The gov.uk site is there to help if this happens during the apprenticeship and so I don’t have to start from the beginning again, my existing work will be carried over to my new provider and I will pick up where I left off.
As you already work in an Apprenticeship training provider, do you feel like this has helped with your apprenticeship? And do you feel supported?
Working for a training provider that delivers apprenticeships has helped me to understand the pathway of an apprenticeship and how they are assessed and graded. It has also taught me how different one apprenticeship can look from another.
Would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I would say for anyone who has the opportunity to enroll onto an apprenticeship, grab the offer with both hands. With the different options available to you and flexibility, you can fit it alongside your work and personal life as you are the one in control.
Any plans on upskilling in the future? If so, what would it be and why?
I don’t know what’s next for me in terms of upskilling, but I will go into any future opportunities with an acquired set of invaluable knowledge and skills that I did not have before I became an apprentice.
We hope this encourages anyone to upskill and undertake any new apprenticeships and courses to better their own knowledge and skills going forward!
It's never too late to learn!
Happy National Apprenticeship Week!