Science Council apprentice Kheira working on her computer at her desk

Did you know I’m the Science Council’s first apprentice?

By 09.03.17

On National Apprenticeship Week I am proud to say that I am the Science Council’s first ever apprentice and one of many hundreds of thousands of young people working in an apprenticeship role in England.

Working with flexibility

I decided I wanted an apprenticeship because I wanted to be able to gain skills whilst maintaining the comfort of learning through my training provider. In addition, I really wanted to expand on what I can do when working ‘on the job’ and apprenticeships allow a degree of flexibility, so that you can do a bit of everything and try new things. The prospect of earning a salary at the same time is great, as it enables me to try new things at work whilst getting paid (even if I do not necessarily like the odd task I am doing!). The Diploma in Business Administration course which I am enrolled on would itself cost a lot of money to complete, but the fact that I get paid to do it is a win-win situation.

University degrees are great, however, I think everyone leaving school is in a phase of (pardon the clichéd term) ‘finding themselves’, whether that is in Thailand or whatnot. Therefore, signing myself up to three years of education (and a multitude of debt) without any flexibility to take a week off and explore my passions sounded sad. With my apprenticeship, I have a designated study day so I’m not constantly worrying about studying all through the week and my weekends and downtime are spent exploring my interests.

Developing my skills

I am already two months into my Business Administration apprenticeship with the Science Council and clearly value how I have a lot of freedom to branch out into the work of different departments and work on different tasks. This can range from doing finance, running my own project and facilitating other projects, talking to customers, monitoring social media and writing blog posts, like this one!

After having inductions with every member of staff in the office, a colleague said that an apprenticeship is, “a year to learn whatever you want” and to “bug people” to let you help with whatever you can, in order to pick up as many skills as possible. So, you can see that I clearly value the support of my colleagues. Degree or no degree; they are always able to discuss action and I admire their skill and knowledge in their fields. The Science Council’s business model is different to other organisations so by working in a place like this, there are more opportunities to grow as a person.

Considering an apprenticeship

Everyone, regardless as to whether they are studying at a university or college, or working in an entry level job will say that their work is difficult in some way. Life is not easy once you reach that dreaded stage when you have to encounter horrific things called ‘decisions’.

If you would like to find out more about apprenticeships, I really like Go Think Big who always seem to have something glitzy to read, which is both humorous yet knowledgeable and leaves me knowing something I didn’t know before! Get in Go Far has more specific information about apprenticeships which is also helpful and the Gov.UK website will even help you find an apprenticeship.

If you are lucky enough to be invited to interview for an apprenticeship role remember to do as much research as possible beforehand and ask as many questions as you need to. Your interviewer will want you to succeed, your team and manager will want you to succeed and will help you when you need it.

Once you are in the role do not feel bad if you need to take time to adapt to your unknown, new surroundings. After all, you will be working five days a week alongside your college work so remember to breathe and carefully plan around your deadlines and keep on top of what you have to do!

Also remember that apprenticeships are not just for people who want ‘practical’ jobs like engineering or mechanics. There are a lot more out there!

Find out more about the Science Council’s position on apprenticeships.