National Apprenticeship Week 2023
To find out more about #NAW2023, click on the image above to go to the official website.

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2023, our Project Worker Rebecca has answered a few questions talking about her experience as an apprentice for the National Independent Visitor Network. Rebecca has worked across some of NIVN’s biggest projects, such as the 2022 Data Report, our Annual Conferences, and the Right Friend Campaign.

Tell us about your career journey so far!

My career journey has been very crazy! I started off doing an Adult Nursing degree when I left college and felt that this wasn’t the right path for me. So, I decided to leave the course during my second year, and re-explore what I wanted to do. At the time, I was a Care Leaver, and my Local Authority shared this apprenticeship opportunity at Barnardo’s with me. I applied for a Business Administration Apprentice role with the National Independent Visitor Network.

When I started the course and the job, I loved it. I loved the work I did, I felt I had so much creative freedom, and so many opportunities to learn. After completing my apprenticeship with a distinction, I was successful in applying to become a Project Worker 1 for NIVN. This was a great step up from the apprenticeship, and I was proud that I was successful in my interview.

I was in post for around a year and a half, when the project had to reapply for its next phase of funding, and which anticipated in its application that there would be a Project Worker 2 role available. To show my progression within Barnardo’s, I wanted to apply for this new role, especially because it had line management responsibilities. I was successful in my interview and I’m currently line managing a Project Worker within the NIVN Project Team.

I’ve also just finished my dissertation with my university (woo!), as I reapplied following the completion of my apprenticeship to a Blended Learning University to study Criminology and Psychology. I am going to be graduating this year and I am so proud of how far I have come both professionally and academically.

What was the hardest part of your apprenticeship?

I think for me the hardest part of the apprenticeship was some of the modules around Microsoft Excel. I enjoy using it but some of the more complex functions were hard to grasp… Looking back now, it was definitely worth it, but for me this was the most challenging thing. I enjoyed everything else!

What was the most enjoyable part of your apprenticeship?

I really enjoy learning new skills, and I found the project management skills to be the most enjoyable. These helped me to be more organised with my work, and ensure that when I lead on projects, I applied these to hit the outcomes I needed to. I think being an apprentice gives you the opportunity to do more skill building, and I enjoyed this the most. I also liked networking with other apprentices for support within Barnardo’s! It really helped me feel connected with others doing similar things.

What’s your #1 tip for any prospective or soon-to-be apprentices?

I would say prepare to motivate yourself, and try and get out of it as much as you can. As an apprentice you have so many opportunities to network with others and learn new skills that you want to enhance. I would recommend that you push yourself, as you will be the one benefitting in the long run professionally! You got this!

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