Sophie’s apprenticeship story
My route into an apprenticeship was not a typical one. I graduated from Middlesex University in 2012 in Advertising, Media, and PR. From there I worked at Channel 4 and Dennis Publishing in different areas of digital advertising. I enjoyed working in media, but I had a passion for education.
Eventually, last year I took the leap into becoming a teacher. I decided I needed more experience in working in education and with children and families before I studied for my qualified teaching status.
This apprenticeship seemed like a great opportunity for me to continue earning while learning in my own borough and gaining the new skills I would need. As part of my apprenticeship, I work in Early Years Education in the Bright Start 0-5 team. I started this job in October 2020 during the pandemic, so I have had to adapt quickly to delivering online services to families to replace real life stay and play and song movement sessions.
I have helped parents with discovering nature walks in local parks and encouraged older children to do planting. My colleague and I took great pride in making the weekly stay and play sessions for under ones more fun for the brief period we could do it in person. I also helped create Christmas packs for families including carol lyrics and craft materials to keep kids entertained over the holiday season.
As an apprentice, I have one day a week for study which at the moment is all online because of Covid-19. That means I have to teach myself a lot of the materials and make a concentrated effort to stay on track. My line managers, Sharon and Coral have done a fantastic job in helping me to settle in under these difficult circumstances. They phone me regularly to check in with me and connect me with lots of people in the wider team. To help me learn more they give me extra materials and signpost me to further training.
For anyone considering doing an apprenticeship in the council or elsewhere, the first thing I would say is that your current job, age or circumstances shouldn’t put you off. My apprenticeship has been an opportunity to change my entire career with great support and the ability to earn a living. This is a rare thing.
I did have a good career in media, but I was unhappy and now I am a 30-year-old apprentice. I feel far happier at work now, it is rewarding and allows me to be creative. This is a diverse workspace in terms of age, ethnicity, and experience so everyone should feel welcome. Don’t let what started in 2020 be a reason to impact 2021 or any year after that, the help is there – take it!
People need jobs and opportunities right now and not considering hiring apprentices because of something that is out of all of our hands feels like it would be a great shame. I have absolutely no regrets about starting this apprenticeship – even if it was in the middle of a lockdown!