For National Apprenticeship Week this year we are taking the opportunity to catch up with people within the Company who are doing apprenticeships. Today we’re speaking with Emily Smith who works within our L&D team to find out more about the route that she took into Geldards and how apprenticeships have helped her.

Emily is our L&D Administrator and she’s currently doing a technical apprenticeship to become a CIPD Accredited L&D Practitioner however she has also done a Business Administration apprenticeship.

Emily, tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up in Geldards

I finished my A levels in 2017 and then I didn’t really want to go to University so decided to apply for a Business Admin apprenticeship and came here and joined the L&D team. I had had work experience doing L&D anyway so when I saw the vacancy, I thought it was perfect, I did that and then finished it in 2018. It covered basic admin modules including organising events, so when I finished, we decided to move onto the more technical one. I’ve gone from doing one apprenticeship to another, so now I’m doing the one to become a CIPD Accredited L&D Practitioner.

What was the interest to you for the apprenticeship route?

I wasn’t really sure exactly what I wanted to do, I just wanted to do business as I knew I liked the area of Training and HR but I didn’t want to go to University on an idea. I thought it would be good to get the experience and see what it was like, and then I could always go back to University but actually I enjoyed working and decided the apprenticeship route was definitely what I wanted to do.

I applied with Nottingham College and then I was matched with various vacancies, they sent me a few and asked which I had a preference for, and I thought this was definitely my first choice. They set up the interview for me and everything went from there really, they didn’t put the individual vacancy on the website, it shows you the trades and then it’s when you make the contact, do the assessment to check English, Maths and ICT and to ensure I was eligible that they told me more. So, then they started the matching process which moved quite quickly.

You must have enjoyed the last one as you’re doing it again, how did you find starting the second one as an internal person as opposed to coming in externally?

I think it was a little bit harder as it was structured differently, my first one I had day release and went to college weekly, whereas this one is distance learning. I’ve had 5 workshops spaced out over the period of a year and it’s much more left to get on with the work and structure it myself. It’s made the balance more noticeable. After the first one I took 6 months working 5 days a week before the next apprenticeship, having to cut back down was a challenge, but it gave me the chance to learn the best way to work and the team have been so supportive.

I think it’s hard when you enjoy your work to take that time out to work on the apprenticeship and not look at emails, so it’s challenged me to become a lot more structured in the way I approach time such as taking myself away to another room to do the work.

It is like doing two completely different things, but I am grateful for the first one as doing the theory behind it meant I understood some more of the background. I think that did help me settle into my role more, doing this second one is like honing my technical skills.

What are your thoughts on apprenticeships in general and what do you enjoy?

I think they’re really good, I wish when I was in school that they pushed it more, I don’t think the schools are educated on them enough. I don’t think they realise you can do office jobs and more technical roles. University isn’t the way that everyone learns, I like the fact that the apprenticeships are structured, and I got the practical experience. The fact I got the added support and the learning at the same time I think that works really well.

Being able to learn the more technical information and expand my knowledge without having to miss out on working is great. I would definitely do it all over again, I have learnt that distance learning is more complicated and requires a lot more disciplined than day release, so it is an interesting thing to consider. It depends so much on the course though, if you’re doing a niche role it’s a great way to be able to do it without having to leave work and maybe even move. Time management and balancing skills are so important and such a great thing to be able to learn and improve on for the future.

If you’d like to find out more about positions we have available at the moment find us here! Make sure to keep an eye on our social media over the week to find out about others’ experiences of apprenticeships!