We caught up with 3 of our Humphries Kirk apprentices to ask them a few questions ahead of National Apprenticeship Week.
What is an apprenticeship?
According to the Government Apprenticeship website, an apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid. You’re an employee with a contract of employment and holiday leave. By the end of an apprenticeship, you’ll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career.
It can take between one and 6 years to complete an apprenticeship depending on which one you choose, what level it is and your previous experience. It’s funded from contributions made by the government and your employer.
Meet our apprentices:
Level 3 Business Administration
Level 3 Business Administration
Level 2 Accounting (AAT)
What apprenticeship are you doing?
Ellie: I am currently employed as an Office Administration Assistant Apprentice at our Parkstone and Poole branches. I am near the end of the Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship. The apprenticeship lasts for 15 months. My day to day job is to assist the Office Supervisor in a front of house role. I deal with clients face to face and over the phone and complete daily administrative tasks to help the smooth running of the office. The apprenticeship covers a variety of aspects of how a business runs and I have to apply that to the business I work for.
Millie: I am also doing the Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship at our Southbourne branch. I started in May 2021 and I am due to finish in August 2022. Not only do I work on reception but I help support the fee earners and other support staff around the office.
Olivia: I am doing the Level 2 AAT Apprenticeship.
What is doing an apprenticeship like? How is it different from going to university?
Olivia: With University you spend time going to lectures and completing assignments and you also normally spend time completing a placement. An apprenticeship is like a placement. As an apprentice, you learn on the job and gain in-organisation experience. Time management is very important when you are an apprentice as you are working a full-time role within the organisation however you also have apprenticeship meetings to attend and assignments to submit. University was an option for me however, I always thought about how much debt that would leave me in and that I may have to rely on my parents for money. With my apprenticeship, I get paid a salary and so, therefore, have no debt to pay back later in life.
Millie: An apprenticeship is a great way to kick start a career from a young age. People who come out of university with a degree may have textbook knowledge, but they don’t have a working knowledge of the profession and are not as skilled or experienced as an apprentice.
How does Humphries Kirk as an employer support apprentices?
Olivia: At Humphries Kirk we have apprentice meetings between the internal apprentices. During this time, we can talk about how we are getting on and offer help to each other if it is needed. I did find when I told people I was going to do an apprenticeship that there was this common misconception that I would just be making people coffee and photocopying, this is definitely not true. All apprentices are treated like any other member of staff and are supported by their surrounding colleagues. I spend time doing jobs that actually have an impact on the business and when other employees are off, I cover for them meaning that I am just as important as anyone else in the finance function. Everyone also understands that we need to take time away from work to study for exams or to complete assignments. Humphries Kirk also provides us with training and makes sure we have another employee to speak to if we need help or need something explaining.
Millie: There is lots of support available for apprentices at Humphries Kirk. There are meetings between your line manager and yourself, apprentice meetings with the other apprentices and monthly meetings with your training advisor. All employees are approachable and eager to help when necessary. There are also lots of opportunities for development for when you finish your apprenticeship, they are always looking to help you progress and reach your ultimate goal. Apprentices are extremely valued at HK!
Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking of doing an apprenticeship?
Ellie: It is an option that is definitely worth exploring especially if you are not sure if you want to go to University. It can also be an extremely valuable way of continuing your professional development if you are already established in your career. It is not just for people of school-leaving age!
Olivia: Go for it! It’s a great way to find out if you like the environment of the role you want to go into and you can always change you apprenticeship if you feel it is not the right fit.
Millie: Grab the opportunity with both hands! It opens so many doors and is a great way of finding out what you want to do in life without having to financially commit to University.
What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?
Ellie: In my opinion, there are many benefits to doing an apprenticeship. I have gained life experience, built positive working relationships and have a valuable position in the firm, all whilst gaining a qualification and earning a salary at the same time. Now that I am towards the end of my apprenticeship I am now in a position where I can look for roles within the firm to potentially be promoted to.
Olivia: The benefits include being paid a salary whilst gaining valuable work experience. If you are completing a Level 6 qualification (degree level) then you will come out with more experience than the person who went to university. This experience is highly desirable to employers.