At 19 and with my daughter due to start school, I started looking at ways to further my learning and expand my career prospects.
I had heard about apprenticeships through friends, but never really looked into what they could offer. I found some further information online, which seemed to fit what I needed: more qualifications, on the job learning, real experience. I applied for several different apprenticeships, some with private companies and two with Bristol City Council. I received letters through the post inviting me for an interview for both apprenticeships with Bristol City Council, a couple of days apart.
My first interview was for the Early Years and Childcare Service as a Business Support Apprentice. I had not had many interviews before and was terribly nervous, but the interview went well and I left feeling considerably better. I had a voicemail waiting for me two days later, offering me the position, which I accepted. I cancelled my second interview.
I started in September on a Level 2 apprenticeship. My manager and I both felt that my skill set was too advanced for a Level 2, so we encouraged the Apprenticeship Team to move me on to a Level 3. The Level 3 was due to last 18 months, I completed it in 11. During the 11 months, I attended college one day per week, where I gained an extra 4 qualifications. Following a recommendation from my ICT tutor, Bristol City Council funded a place for me on another college course, where I gained additional qualifications in the use of databases.
I was progressing well and was pleased with how far I had come in a short space of time. However, it came as a shock to me when I received an email informing me I had been nominated as Apprentice of the Year. I attended a celebration ceremony, where I won Apprentice of the Year for my department, Children and Young Peoples Services. Because of this success, I was put forward to the corporate celebration ceremony against other winners of the department award. I can’t explain the excitement when they read out my name as the winner of the corporate Apprentice of the Year award!
Not long after this success, I applied for a permanent BG7 Business Support post within the team I was working for. I was up against some tough competition and had to sit an excel test prior to my interview. I was offered the post a few days later. In a little over 1 year, I had 7 new qualifications and a permanent post within Bristol City Council.
My role took a different direction very quickly, and I soon became involved in supporting others with delivering training. I seemed to become more involved with each session, so I was booked on to attend the Train the Trainer course, to learn how to deliver and plan an effective training session. I really enjoyed delivering training and was given the opportunity to become a co-trainer, teaching Children’s Centre staff how to use an online database. As my training responsibilities increased, I recognised that I needed to further my learning in this area quite considerably. After discussion with my manager, we agreed I could book on to the Level 3 Award in Education and Training course, which is the first step towards a full teaching qualification. 4 months later, I had another qualification to add to my ever growing list of achievements.
An opportunity arose not long after the completion of this course, for me to apply for a new BG9 post within Early Years as a Data Management Support Officer. As my role had taken such a data-specific focus, I felt this new role would suit me well and so I applied. After a nerve-wracking interview, I was offered the post.
Three and a half years after starting with Bristol City Council, I now have 12 qualifications, have moved up several grades and am writing and delivering my own personalised training all over Bristol. I will be forever grateful to have worked in an environment which believes in the prospects of young people and does not only support professional development, but actively encourages it.