Rachael joined the apprenticeship team in August 2021. At FI Maidstone, she supports students studying levels 2, 3, 4 and 7 and has previous experience with delivery and support of Apprenticeships having also completed one herself.
She conducts regular reviews to help develop her cohorts’ skills and behaviours. That’s why we asked Rachael her views on the below:
What is your favourite thing about apprenticeships? / What would you say are the main benefits of an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are a great way to combine professional qualifications/theory-based learning with professional experience. Most, if not all of the worries and cons of a university degree; such as the huge loans needed to fund the course are answered with an apprenticeship.
As an apprentice, you work alongside varying levels of professionals some recently qualified and some with decades of experience whilst completing your studies. This means not only do you get the experience and support from tutors and coaches but from colleagues and managers too. This ensures you have enough experience of both the technical knowledge needed for your career path as well as the soft workplace skills such as communication and leadership. This opens up the doors to careers, job roles and companies you may not have the opportunity to work for should you have solely taken the degree route.
As a coach, I know I have done my job correctly when I see and hear about my learners progressing in their workplaces. This is when students are able to put not only knowledge but their skills and behaviours into practice.
If you could give any piece of advice to a new apprentice, what would it be?
Having seen many apprentices start new courses, there are a few tips that I would give to anyone about to embark on their first apprenticeship. The first is to organise your time. Luckily, with an apprenticeship, your coach has likely planned most, if not all, of your courses and development tasks. However, managing completing these along with a full-time job and having some “me time” can be really tricky! You need to be setting aside time for study and revision as early on as you can to ensure you are getting the best results.
Another piece of advice I would give which links well to the first, is to ask for help when you need it. Make sure you don’t wait for your next course day or next progress review with your coach. If you run into an issue or a question have it cleared up with the help of someone promptly. It will benefit you hugely to not be worrying and stressing about something that could have been dealt with. There is no such thing as a daft question, no one will expect you to have all the answers straight away and that’s what we are all here for.
Lastly, be enthusiastic about your college work and work tasks. You will get out of them what you put in and people will notice the positive attitude and approach. This will only result in better grades, especially with your portfolios and project reports. This will also include positive feedback going back to employers who I am sure will also notice the positive approach.