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Hi, I’m the #BeeWell Apprentice, Tora, and to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, I’d like to share my experience with being an apprentice and how I believe the scheme has given me ‘skills for life’.

My first experience with the University of Manchester’s apprenticeship scheme was in 2022, studying for a Level 3 NVQ qualification in Business Administration and working as an administrative assistant. The course required a minimum of 6 hours, or 20% of my time, to be spent on ‘off-the-job learning’. Many apprentices and employers will schedule this differently. I found that dedicating a 3-hour block twice a week worked very well for myself and my line manager. I completed my course in November 2023.

Prior to this, I had dropped out of sixth form due to a lack of support and deteriorating mental health. I wasn’t sure where I was headed. I felt worried, confused, and unsure of what to do. Fortunately, we live in a day and age where access to the internet is readily available, and I had boundless resources right at my fingertips. A quick search on alternative options to college and sixth form gave me the information and opportunity to stay in education while also gaining valuable first-hand experience. Gaining first-hand experience was especially important to me, as I had worries that I would fall behind peers my age.

My first experience with the university’s apprenticeship scheme allowed me to grow from a timid, shy, and quiet person into a confident, proactive, innovative, and creative individual. This growth came from the many opportunities to shadow colleagues who worked in a variety of positions, ranging from communications and marketing to administration and internationalisation to health, safety, and compliance.

A month prior to completing my course, it became time to look at moving on to one of three options: continuing my studies full-time at a university, continuing work without any further education, or applying for a degree apprenticeship. This brings me to my second and current experience with the University of Manchester’s apprenticeship scheme.

The #BeeWell Apprentice post was being advertised at the perfect time for me. Reading through the job description, requirements, and expectations left me with great excitement. Thanks to my experience as an administrative assistant, I had a great understanding of all the tasks and duties that would be required of me. I felt very confident that I would succeed within this role. The position also aligns with my three main career goals, the first being to work in a career centred around contributing to wellbeing, the second being to gain the knowledge and experience to be able to open a non-profit charity alongside partnering with existing organisations to provide specialised support to all individuals and children affected by domestic violence, and lastly, a position that will allow me to make a change in our world.

My first month as the #BeeWell apprentice has been busy, exciting, rewarding, and insightful. I have already gained so much knowledge from shadowing colleagues, supporting work I don’t have previous experience in. I’m enrolled and ready to start my integrated degree in Project Management.

Thanks for reading!

Tora