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Policy & Partnerships

Nicky Neale

March 8, 2017 • Investing in Young Enterprise • National Apprenticeship Week

Nicky Neale

National Apprenticeship Week is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and Monmouthshire is marking the occasion by talking to members of staff  who started with us as apprentices.

When did you start your apprenticeship?
I started my apprenticeship in February 2016 – I joined Monmouthshire County Council as a Business Support Apprentice in the Strategic Partnership Team and began studying toward an NVQ Level 3 in Business and Administration with Torfaen Training.

Why did you become an apprentice?
I decided to become an apprentice after volunteering for the Council for 2 months. As a young single parent who left university before graduating, I needed to find a way that I could continue to learn and develop my skills while also earning money to support my son financially. An apprenticeship has allowed me to do both of these things!

How did your apprenticeship benefit you?
My apprenticeship has benefited me in a significant amount of ways, but most importantly it has provided me with a gateway into the workforce. As a young person without a degree and very limited work experience, getting a job seemed like a very daunting prospect as I couldn’t imagine an employer taking a risk when I wasn’t able to prove my capabilities in a job application alone. This apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to prove that I can be a valuable asset to a team, and has given me the qualifications and experience I will so greatly value going forward.

Where are you now?
I am still currently working as a Business Support Apprentice in the Strategic Partnership Team. My NVQ is due to complete at the end of March.

Best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the vast amount of opportunities I’ve been given in this position and the amount of people I’ve been able to make connections with while working here on both a personal and professional level. The support I’ve received from my colleagues while settling into the team and learning about my role has been invaluable.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Who knows where I’ll be in 5 years’ time! The future is always scary to think about, but this apprenticeship has made thinking about it far less daunting. I’d certainly like to think I have a long career ahead of me with Monmouthshire County Council.

What would you say to someone considering an apprenticeship?
If I could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about an apprenticeship it would be to block out any negative comments and just think about what could work you. Plenty of people had negative things to say to me when I considered applying to be ‘just an apprentice’ but taking on this role I’ve learned that as any member of staff you’re far more than just your job title, and being ‘just an apprentice’ has not stopped me from making valuable contributions to the team. College and university isn’t for everyone and progressing onto the career ladder isn’t a one size fits all process. Work based learning might just be the right option for you!