National Apprenticeship Week | my experience of apprenticeships

Since NAW 2018 (National Apprenticeship Week) is rapidly approaching I thought I’d best share my experience in hope of inspiring others to take the plunge and find themselves an vocational opportunity. I seriously recommend apprenticeships and I really hope that is portrayed in todays post.

So let’s start right at the beginning, which is probably late 2015 to early 2016 when I decided I didn’t want to go to University. This meant I needed to find myself a job. Fortunately I had a supportive teacher who knew I was a little lost. She sent me an application for this job and pushed me to apply for it-big thanks to her because I wouldn’t be where I am if she hadn’t given me that shove I needed. However it wasn’t an easy ride as I was massively apprehensive, all my friends were applying to Uni and getting offers, then there was me, applying for an apprenticeship. Something which I had little knowledge about.

I had hit a rough patch in my life at this point and I was desperately hiding my struggles from my peers and teachers. I found it hard to be doing something different to the rest of my school mates, especially when it came to uni related events. Since I wasn’t going I wasn’t invited to attend these days and talks put on by my school. Instead I was isolated in another room away from everyone in which normal schooling continued. To this day I am so bitter about this, and have previously touched on it in another post so won’t waffle on about it. My school certainly made it seem like University was the only option if you wanted a career. I can now object to this as I am well and truly on a upwards path towards my future and career.

May 2016 I landed myself and interview with the NHS working with Kent Community Health Foundation Trust. I was applying for the role of clinical apprentice, this was a new post within in the trust, in fact I was the first to have this sort of apprenticeship. I had no idea what I had let myself in for, I knew nothing about the job I was applying for. I had done a quick Google search however that was none-conclusive. I felt like I went into the interview blind and had no chance of getting it. Despite this I came out feeling positive. Two hours later I had a phone call offering me the job on an 18 month contract. I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say, I hadn’t even planned on getting it. I stewed on it for a few hours and then later confirmed I would like the position.

Fast forward a year where I was well a truly settled in my position. So settled I wasn’t prepared to move even though my contract was nearing an end. I quickly realised what an incredible opportunity I was given and looking back, I’m so proud I pushed myself out of my comfort zone because I’ve gone from strength to strength. The experience I have gained is invaluable! There’s no way I would have gained the experience I have if I was completing a degree. In fact I’m sure this apprenticeship has pulled me out from my rough patch. I now work with the most supportive team who are always willing to answer my stupid questions-these come on a daily basis. It’s helped me decided what I want to take further as a career and now I have the opportunity to stay with my team and hopefully in the future take my career further. Spoiler: a job came up and I go it, woohoo!!!

Now if you’re ever in doubt. seriously look into apprenticeships. I always feared they wouldn’t be recognised if in the future I did go to university. This fear quickly passed when I realise what I was getting out of it was way more than just a level 3 NVQ. Apprenticeships work, especially if you thrive from getting hands on like me. I gained so much insight into a profession I had never even considered and now I’m looking to pursue it as a career. In fact I’m looking into completing a degree-based apprenticeship, an upcoming opportunity within many organisations.

I wish I was given more support when deciding what I wanted to do after education, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so lost. That’s why it’s so important to me this topic, I want to share my positive experience to encourage others that University doesn’t have to be the norm. I really hope this post helped at least one person!


Till the next time,

Charlotte xo



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