National Apprenticeship Week 2018 – Where Can Apprenticeship Take You?
At Capita WFM, we run an award-winning apprenticeship scheme, offering a variety of rewarding apprenticeships. Seeing as not only National Apprenticeship Week but also International Women’s Day, we caught up with our newest Project Manager, Alicia Smith, to find out about her apprenticeship and where it has taken her over the past few years.
Apprenticeship – Business & Administration
Current Role – Junior Project Manager
Q.What type of Apprenticeship did you do?
A. I did a Business & Administration apprenticeship. I started off doing a year-long Levelc2 NVQ in Business & Administration, and the following year did my Level 3 qualification as well.
Q. What made you apply for an apprenticeship?
A. When I was at college I wanted to continue my education but I just knew that university wasn’t the right path for me. When I saw apprenticeships advertised at college, they sounded perfect – an opportunity to get straight into employment and start getting experience whilst gaining a qualification at the same time.
Q. What attracted you to the role and the company?
A. I’ve always had an interest in IT & Software. I did IT for GCSE & A-Levels and really enjoyed it so felt it would be good to work in an industry that I was interested in. Having grown up in Swindon, the fact that Capita WFM was incredibly local to me was also a great added bonus.
Q. What role are you doing now?
A. I’m now a Project Manager for our professional services team.
Q. Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others, including young women?
A. 100%! I’d say it the best thing I’ve ever done! I wanted to go straight into work, but it’s hard to go straight from college to work without much experience or a degree, etc. so an apprenticeship was a great way in for me. There is also so much choice in what you can do an apprenticeship in – it’s not all vocational courses so I’d definitely recommend having a good look at what’s available.
Q. How did you prepare for the interview process?
A. I ended up having 2 interviews – the first one with Dan, the apprenticeship manager and then with my line manager at the time, Sam. To prepare, I did as much research as I could about the company and tried to remember as much as possible. I also made sure I looked really smart, as you’re still applying to work for a company and I think it’s important to make a good impression and show that you care enough to make an effort.
Q. How was it balancing full-time work with the qualification?
A. It did take a while to get used to it, but it was just a case of getting organised and prioritising my college work. I would set aside a block of time each week to do my coursework and you get visits from your tutor as well to see how you’re getting on and help with your portfolio. The work I was doing helped the apprenticeship and I was getting the experience which then went as evidence in my portfolio for my NVQ L2 & L3.
Q. What’s surprised you about your apprenticeship?
A. I thought it was going to be a lot more demanding than it was! I think working and gaining experience was vital to the qualification as I could use my own experiences to help with the coursework
Q. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
A. Doing my Prince 2 project management qualification, I’m about half way through it at the moment. I’d also say moving towards a career in Project Management as I never ever thought I’d be here in only 4 years; I thought I’d be going into IT Support and I love the direction I’ve gone in. I’m really pleased with how far I’ve come in such a short space of time. I started as Project Administrator, Project Support Office and now project manager in a period of 4 years.
Apprenticeships really do give you a great foot in the door at a company and a brilliant way to work your way up the ladder.