National Apprenticeship Week 2021 – #NAW2021 #BuildTheFuture
This week is National Apprenticeship Week – an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships. Now in its 14th year, this year’s theme focuses on ‘Build the Future’ and looks at how employers train, retain and achieve with apprenticeships.
For ALA, ‘building the future’ has been a key factor in starting our own apprenticeship scheme. Many of you have followed our journey in launching the Quantity Surveying Degree Apprenticeship Scheme in September 2019, which saw Dan Ashton join the team. Dan is now part way through his university course, and provides regular updates with his blog posts. Make sure you keep an eye out for them!
Apprenticeships aren’t just for new employees. They’re a great tool to help develop existing employee’s skills and bring new knowledge into the business. Our Office Manager, Julie Stott knows this after enrolling on an apprenticeship through the British Institute of Recruiters (BIOR).
We’ll take a look at both Julie and Dan’s experiences of their apprenticeships so far.
Julie Stott, Office Manager – HR Apprenticeship, Level 3, BIOR
Julie joined ALA in 2017 as an Office Manager, providing administrative support to the company across its three UK locations. The role involved invoicing, accounts and managing the day to day running of the business. At annual appraisal, Julie’s past experience of Human Resources was noted as a point of interest and both Julie and ALA felt that it would be beneficial to have a formal qualification in the subject.
‘I previously worked for a local plumbing company in the accounts department, so I knew of apprenticeships. I’d always thought that apprenticeships were meant for trades roles and didn’t realise that you could gain a professional qualification by doing an apprenticeship.
I already have a qualification from my accounts role, and it touched on some of the basic HR principals. I was keen to develop this knowledge further to ensure that ALA was up to date with current HR practices. I think it’s important to invest in your employees to help keep them motivated and wanting to stay with the business. Since starting the HR Level 3 apprenticeship, my role has grown to cover ensuring staff wellbeing, the onboarding process of new employees and I’ve taken greater involvement with employee payroll.
As a company, ALA already had links to the British Institute of Recruiters (BIOR). The application process was really simple, and I’ve been impressed with my tutors and mentors provided as part of the course. They have really helped me to play an active part in ALA’s growth and boosted my confidence in my role – it just goes to show that you’re never too old to learn something new!’
Blending work and learning isn’t always easy, but Julie is able to set dedicated time aside during the working week to complete course work and assignments. As part of the apprenticeship agreement, ALA is permitted to provide 20% of the week to off-the-job training. We work flexibly with Julie to ensure that this time is protected and ensure the right level of support is given.
‘I’d recommend both employers and employees to consider an apprenticeship as a way of accessing new skills and investing in their teams. I have gained so much confidence in myself and its been nice learning something new again.’
Dan joined ALA in September 2019 after successfully being appointed as our first ever degree apprentice. He is now part way through his second year of studying Quantity Surveying at UCLan. Dan has written several blog posts detailing his experiences with ALA so far, you can read them here, here and here.
‘I had always thought of an apprenticeship as being for something like plastering or bricklaying and to develop hands on skills. I didn’t realise you could be supported through an apprenticeship scheme and get a degree qualification.
Quantity Surveying was something I hadn’t really heard of either. Coming to the end of school, I knew I didn’t want to go down the traditional University route – if I’m honest, the debt put me off. I’ve always been interested in construction, and when ALA came to my school to talk about career options, I felt that a Quantity Surveying career would suit me down to the ground.
Blending both academic and vocational skills, Quantity Surveying seemed like a good choice – I was really interested in the career progression and opportunities for travel and work abroad. Being able to earn a wage whilst learning was also important to me. The route I’ve chosen is longer than going to University full time; it will take me 5 years to graduate whereas a traditional route would only take 3 years. I don’t mind this though, I’ve already had so many invaluable experiences and have been able to apply so many things I’ve learned to practical, real life situations.
I’m currently part of a close-knit team working on a major project in Denmark – something I never through I’d be doing at 20 years old! I do feel very lucky to be part of the apprenticeship scheme, both ALA and UCLan have been great. My role can be a bit stressful sometimes, but I’ve learned to approach things in a calm manner and work things out with logic and reason. It’s a real challenge but one I’ve really enjoyed – the experience and chance to work abroad has been incredible.
I’d highly recommend doing an apprenticeship. Working alongside studying, on real-life projects, has really helped me to contextualise what I’ve learned. You get to work alongside people who you can also learn so much from – that in itself is invaluable.’
Want to talk to us about Apprenticeships?
We’re always happy to talk about apprenticeships and the many benefits that they bring.
- Are you an SME looking to launch your own apprenticeship scheme?
- Are you a school or college, interested in partnering with us?
- Are you a candidate with A-Level or equivalent qualifications, interested in a highly rewarding career, offering training and development?
We’d love to hear from you – get in touch with John Houghton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Look out for further updates throughout National Apprenticeship Week!
National Apprenticeship Week