15 Mar 2013

National Apprenticeship Week and GreenSquare

The sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week is taking place from 11-15 March. The Week is designed to celebrate Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses, and the economy.

GreenSquare supports the employment of apprentices. Lisa Wroe, Employment and Training Adviser at GreenSquare says: “We have always found the apprenticeship scheme works well both for the apprentices themselves and for GreenSquare as an organization.”

Ricky Stonham, one of our recent apprentices, tells his own story:
“Before I began my apprenticeship at GreenSquare, I had been in and out of work as well as different college courses. I wasn’t particularly enjoying any of the things I was doing, so I decided to have another look around to see what was on offer. I have always favoured the idea of an apprenticeship because you are able to earn money at the same time as gaining experience. So I began searching the Internet for apprenticeships that were based in the Wiltshire area. That’s how I came across my apprenticeship with GreenSquare. I found an apprentice administrator job advertised and liked what was on offer. The location suited me as well, so I applied for it. And a few weeks after being interviewed, I was lucky enough to be offered the apprenticeship.

“I had never worked in an administrative role before, so wasn’t sure what to expect. Being an apprentice means you aren’t expected to know everything immediately, and, as the weeks went on, I was trained on various jobs and began to have more of an understanding about how to do things, and I was confident and competent enough to carry out tasks on my own. The work varied all the time. Some of the tasks I carried out were entering property details on to the management database, answering telephone enquiries and passing on to the appropriate person, writing and sending letters to customers, attending meetings and forums, attending college day release, raising orders for trades operatives and sending to the requested supplier, working on various spreadsheets, and more. Training and support were provided for each of these jobs. One day a week, for fifteen weeks, I attended Bath College as a part of the apprenticeship, where I also received training and an understanding of the administrative role.

“I enjoyed my apprenticeship and it went well for me, and the year flew by. I gained a lot of experience, and, by the time the apprenticeship had ended, I was able to do all of my required tasks with little help – so the training provided proved to be a great help and was valuable for me for future career progression. Towards the end of my apprenticeship, I was offered a two-year extension, which I happily took. And I will now be spending more time in the week shadowing different surveyors and I have also been put on a course to learn about housing maintenance where, if I pass, I will receive another qualification. So I am now heading towards the surveying role and also carrying out administrative tasks.

“So it goes to show the apprenticeship was well worth going for and trying something new paid off because I would have never seen myself in an office-based role, yet here I am.”

Lisa Wroe concluded: “Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to improve their skills and show employers what they are capable of. It is important that employers offer these opportunities to support the development of our future employees and provide real paid work to support those affected by the Welfare Reform.”