The apprenticeship route can set you up for life by getting an early foot on your career ladder – that is the view of Chingford-resident Sasha Hudson who has already completed two apprenticeships and is now looking to start a Level Four course this year.
As a 17-year-old Sasha was following a traditional Business Studies course at college which she felt wasn’t right for her so when a family member suggested she checked out apprentices she got in touch with Waltham Forest Adult Learning Services for more information.
Liking what she heard she completed the application forms and was given a number of apprenticeship opportunities to consider.
Sasha said: “I liked the information on the Level Two apprenticeship with Waltham Forest Council’s Adult Social Care team so applied for that post. It was a competitive interview, which was a bit daunting to think about but the interviewers soon put me at ease and made me feel comfortable so I could give my best.
“I got the role and it was great. As a student I wasn’t earning any money but as an apprentice I was earning while I was learning which made me much more responsible. I was able to make a contribution to my mum for family expenses and was able to pay my own mobile bill as well.
“The job involved working with a lot of different customers including some difficult clients and some with language barriers or disabilities so I learnt a lot about customer service and developed good communication skills.
“The job satisfaction was good and I had a lot of responsibility as I knew that if I didn’t get something right that would mean the whole system would have an error in it, but I had a lot of support from a good team, a great line manager and from previous apprentices who acted as mentors.
“An added bonus was that every quarter there was a pay increment based on your performance which certainly helped me focus on making sure I did my very best in all areas of my work.”
Having spent 18 months successfully completing her Level Two apprenticeship Sasha then applied for a Level Three role with the Council’s Business Growth and Investment team, which she completed in a year.
Sasha said: “The skills I learnt in this role were very different and involved a lot of project management but again the support I had was fantastic. I really enjoyed that sort of work and help to decide to pursue a career in project management.
“As the apprenticeship was nearing the end I started looking for job opportunities in Jobs Go Public and saw an advertisement for a Project Support Officer in the Council’s transformation team. I applied for it, competing against external candidates, and was successful starting the job in June last year.
“The apprenticeships I did gave me a good understanding of local authorities and project managements as well as helping build my self-confidence.
“In my job I’m helping develop strategic plans, which means working with senior directors and Strategic Boards. No two days are the same and you can see the benefits for local people of the work you do.”
Sasha is now aiming to do a two-year Level Four project management apprenticeship which includes time off for college and will need her to lead on some projects so she gets wider experience and good training opportunities.
Sasha concluded: “The apprenticeship route can set you up for life and helps you get a foot on the career ladder at an early age – I’m proof that can be done!”