#NAW2018 Apprentice Case Study: Connie

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2018, we’re catching up with some of our brightest apprentices who are building their careers across a range of industries, and finding out how they make a difference to the businesses from their employers.

Today we hear from Connie Parker, a Business Administration Apprentice at Dean Close School in Cheltenham.

Former Stroud College student, 20-year-old Connie from Brockworth, is almost 18 months into her role as Development and Alumni Assistant at Dean Close School in Cheltenham. She wanted a change from college and felt that going straight into work was too daunting, so an apprenticeship was the perfect route to a career for her.

Day-to-day Connie handles enquiries from former students on the phone, by post and email, alongside maintaining the department’s database and planning and hosting events.

She said: “The best thing about my apprenticeship is the people I work with. I was so nervous about being so young and the school’s first admin apprentice, but everyone was so welcoming. I feel like my employer has really invested in me and encouraged me to attend external courses and events such as the national IDPE (Development and Alumni) conference. I’ve personally been involved in a huge range of events including clay pigeon shooting and a reception I helped to host at the House of Lords!”

Connie has already achieved her Level 2 qualification and is now working towards her Level 3. She’s also learned to network and develop confidence, which is something many apprentices struggle with at the start.

Most of Connie’s training takes place on-the-job and she attends college only for exams, with regular visits from her GC Assessor who provides help and support to ensure she stays on track.

She added: “My assessor has really encouraged me to persevere with a unit I was finding difficult. She helped me to find resources that helped me through it.

“I’m very lucky I’ve fitted in so well at Dean Close. I made a good decision to choose an apprenticeship and I would highly recommend it to others. I’ve progressed so much and look forward to what the future brings!”

Felicity Copp, Development Manager for Dean Close School, believes it’s important to invest in training and developing staff. They needed someone to fill a post and couldn’t justify a big salary for an experienced member of staff, but were prepared to offer their time and expertise to train someone up. They have apprentices elsewhere in the business, but Connie was Dean Close School’s first admin apprentice.

Felicity said: “On the whole our apprentices are young and motivated, and bring fresh ideas and positive attitudes to the organisation. Connie, specifically, provides excellent admin support and brings a sunny disposition.

“We look for apprentices with a can-do attitude; someone with good social skills, a strong work ethic and who shows an interest in the organisation and role. We’re not too concerned with certificates and experience, as we know that someone who shows good common sense, is interested and shows a good level of maturity will be able to pick up the knowledge required.

“I think Connie has got really involved in her time at Dean Close. This is because she has really committed to working here and developing her skills. I’d really recommend an apprentice jumps in with two feet.”

If you’re considering launching your career via the apprenticeship route, find out more about GC’s award-winning apprenticeships, meet employers and apply for live vacancies at its Apprenticeship Open Evening on Wednesday 28 March. Visit www.gcapprenticeshipeve.co.uk to book your place.

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