National Apprenticeship Week: Learning on the job

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, today’s guest blog is from Michael, Business Support Apprentice in the Mayor’s Office.

I decided to look at doing an apprenticeship after finishing my first year of A Levels as I felt that they weren’t for me and I wanted to try something different. In 2019,  after searching hiring sites and the Government website, I found the role of Business Support Apprentice advertised in the Mayor’s Office. I applied, got invited for an interview, and the rest, as they say is, history! Some of the advantages of doing an apprenticeship include:

  • Being able to leave school at 16, as doing an apprenticeship counts as full-time education
  • Earning while learning
  • Getting onto the career ladder at a young age
  • Gaining practical experience in a work environment

My role is quite diverse but is concentrated around supporting the team administratively (as well as making the very occasional cup of tea for the Mayor!) Some of my common tasks include: processing the finances for the office, such as paying invoices and recording the spend against our budget for the financial year; scanning and recording letters to the Mayor; and collating the Mayor’s appointments into an accessible published diary each month. I have also recently become more involved in drafting responses to citizens’ letters to the Mayor.

Pre-pandemic, I enjoyed getting involved in events that the Mayor’s Office organised. Particular highlights have included helping to organise the Race and the City conference, volunteering to sign-in and assist attendees at the Child Friendly Cities Conference and organising the Bristol Young Heroes Awards nominees reception. I received a letter of thanks from the charity who hosted the event for my work on this.

I really enjoy working with the team in the Mayor’s Office and I find it interesting how each of our roles fits together. I feel supported by everyone, so the experience so far has been a real confidence booster for me.

Apprenticeships are not just about experience at work. I have finished my Level 2 qualification in Business Administration and I feel like I have been able to transfer my skills learnt from that course, such as problem solving and an improvement in my ICT skills, into my day-to-day work. I have recently completed my initial assessment for the Level 3 Business Admin course, which I am looking forward to starting soon to further develop my skills over the next 12 months.

Apprenticeships are a great way to kick-start a career and can open the doors to many different fields of work. Overall, I believe they are a great alternative to the brick and mortar narrative of university that is encouraged at many schools!