My journey as an apprentice

Naomi Mancell

Apr 13 2017

I will start off with just a brief way of describing the sort of person I used to be, and how I got here today. I was always the joker friend; in better words-distracting. I was the class clown who never really thought about life or my future; live for the moment kind of girl. It wasn’t until I really needed to think about my future, that I actually did.

Going to school, I skived lessons that I didn’t enjoy, and when it came to leaving school, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I didn’t have very good grades because of the way I was. In the end, I chose to do hairdressing, but of course with poor grades I had to complete level 1 hairdressing first, which was more health and safety then hair. So then I got bored and I decided I wanted to quit. My Mum wasn’t prepared to let me leave college until I found myself a job. This was when I started my first apprenticeship in a salon. I was earning a wage (not a very good wage but it got me by) and it was a lot more hands on so I was happy. I stayed at the salon for 8 years when I felt like I had gained everything out of it that I could and I wanted a change.

I decided I wanted to work in administration, I searched for six months, and of course, with no experience I had no luck. My friend told me about a Business Administration Apprenticeship in Hampshire County Council, which I thought I was too old for. However, I applied and I got the job. I applied for the job in December 2015 and I started my job in February 2016. I was ready for a fresh new start. However, with my poor grades, I also needed to complete my functional skills in ICT, English and Maths. I knew it was going to be a challenge with all of the extra exams I would have to sit and going from being a hairdresser to administration in payroll.

Half way through my apprenticeship, I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be there because I just couldn’t get my head around it. All of my new work friends were reassuring me that it does take time to get used to the job and it is a lot to take in, not only in the workplace but the thought of all of the course work too. I just couldn’t shake the ‘useless’ feeling and it really knocked my confidence. It gave me really bad anxiety and I made myself poorly from overthinking. I ended up having a lot of time off work because every time I thought of everything I had to complete, it was overwhelming.

When I returned to work, I realised how much support I had by my side and I realised that actually, I could do it. I went back with only 33% of my course completed, along with my ICT and my maths still to do, and I had four and half months to complete. Our group was split up and I knuckled down and got more work done in those four and half months, than I did in the eight months prior to that.

I am proud to say that I have completed my apprenticeship, I have also achieved all of my functional skills (first time on all of them, may I add) and I am so happy that I stuck it out. Also, I am so very grateful to those who did not let me quit, because I wouldn’t like to imagine where I would be and what I would be doing now. It just goes to show what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.