The focus will turn to apprenticeships next week, as March 4-8 has been designated National Apprenticeship Week.
Interestingly for us as a recruitment agency, it will also be National Careers Week, as the two naturally go hand-in-hand. One focuses on the benefits of apprenticeships, and the other looks at the importance of careers education in schools and colleges.
We’re all about helping people get into employment and find a career that suits them, and about helping our clients find the perfect candidates to fill their vacancies. So both awareness weeks dovetail with our company’s mission.
We also support apprenticeships in a proactive way. We currently have an apprentice, Georgia Hedges, who is proving a great asset to 24-7 Staffing on are care desk and in May will complete her apprenticeship to become a qualified Resourcer.
National Apprenticeship Week
This annual event is organised by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and this year will be the 12th. It is aimed at bringing together anybody and everybody who is interested in apprenticeships and highlights the benefits to employers and to those who undertake an apprenticeship.
This year’s theme is Blazing a Trail, which will feature throughout the week to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships to employers, individuals, local communities and the economy.
There will be a range of activities and events across the UK, showing how apprenticeships can benefit people from all backgrounds and of all ages: apprenticeships aren’t just for youngsters!
The week will also show the number of high-quality apprenticeship opportunities available at all levels around the country in a huge variety of sectors such as aviation engineering, finance and policing.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said: “Blazing a trail is what being an apprentice is all about, because that’s what’s happening up and down the country – apprentices and employers blazing a trail.
“I want everyone to recognise the change that apprenticeships can bring - for employers blazing a trail to new markets, apprentices to new career opportunities and for colleges and training providers raising the skills levels for everyone.”
National Careers Week
National Careers Week (NCW) is a celebration of the quality and range of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK. The aim is to provide a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar, to help support young people leaving education.
There are loads of resources, tips and advice available at the NCW website, for students and for educators and employers alike.
How to make the most of your apprenticeship
If you are about to embark on an apprenticeship, or have recently started one, here are some tips on how to make the most of your time, as you set out in your working life:
- Always be punctual. If you’re about to start your apprenticeship, have a practice run from home to work, so you know how long it takes, and factor in rush hour traffic conditions.
- Get to know the other people in your department. If you’re a young apprentice, and this is your first venture into the world of work, you’re bound to feel nervous, so by trying to overcome any shyness and making friends with the people immediately around you, you’ll soon begin to feel at home.
- Pay close attention during your induction and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The induction is the time when you are given a lot of information about systems and processes within and organisation, as well as being introduced to lots of new people. As well as keeping your eyes and ears open, it’s a good idea to take notes – and write down a few names!
- Be organised. If you’re fresh out of school or college, you’ll be used to following a set timetable, and it’s likely that, as an apprentice, much of your time will be organised too. But you will need to use your initiative as well, so being organised – writing lists and keeping notes – will help.
- Never be afraid to ask questions. After all, you are the newbie and you can’t be expected to know everything; your colleagues will expect you to ask questions and will be very happy to help.
- Watch how others work. This will give you an insight not only into how the organisation operates, but you’ll also learn more: how do people manage their time? How do they interact with others? You’ll pick up some good habits – and may even spot some bad ones, that should be avoided!
- Be helpful. If there are regular tea and coffee rounds, join in and take your turn. You’re part of a new team now, and the more helpful you are the more quickly you will feel accepted.
- Be keen and enthusiastic! If this is your dream apprenticeship, then that shouldn’t be to hard. Your colleagues and managers will notice your enthusiasm, and this will stand you in good stead.
- You may have only just started your apprenticeship, but it’s never too early to think of your next step. How would you like your career to progress? Where and what will your ideal role be? By having a career plan – even if it has to be flexible – you’ll be more focused and more driven to success.
And from our own apprentice
Georgia joined 24-7 Staffing last year, as an apprentice recruitment Resourcer, and is based in our Chippenham head office.
“I had started at Bath College after my GCSEs doing a business course, but I wasn’t enjoying it,” said Georgia, who will be 18 in May. “We had heard a lot about apprenticeships at school, so I decided this would be a good idea for me.
“I really enjoy it. Every day is different, and I am learning a lot. I think I am learning more here than I would at college and it’s so much better than sitting in a classroom. If anybody is thinking about doing an apprenticeship, I would definitely recommend it.”
Senior recruitment consultant Laura Wilson, who supervises Georgia, said she is a real asset to the team.
“I would definitely recommend other businesses to take on an apprentice, especially if they are all like Georgia,” said Laura. “She is very keen, punctual, a fast learner and has come on in leaps and bounds, and I even find myself asking her things now, especially in relation to IT!
“As part of her apprenticeship, Georgia has been helping in lots of areas of the business, which makes her very versatile.”
If you’re interested in apprenticeships, a new career, or advancement in your current career, the team here at 24-7 Staffing can help. We specialise in the driving, commercial, healthcare and industrial sectors and have a wide range of opportunities for enthusiastic candidates.
Perhaps you are an employer, thinking about taking on an apprentice? We can chat through your options. Since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in 2017 – where UK employers with wage bills of over £3m pay 0.5% of their payroll into a central apprenticeships fund – there are increased opportunities for apprenticeships to be fully or partially funded by the levy.
To have a conversation, please get in touch with the team.