My experience as an Apprentice at CPP Group UK – Part II

We hear from Mia Smith, Business Administration Apprentice at CPP UK

National Apprenticeship Week takes place between the 8th and 14th February, and celebrates the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy. With COVID-19 forcing us all to rapidly adapt our social and working lives, we thought we’d ask our Business Administration Apprentice to share her experiences of her second year of working at CPP Group UK. 

 Can you explain a bit about yourself?

My name is Mia Smith, and I’m a Business Administration Apprentice working at CPP Group UK based in Leeds City Centre. I joined the team in June 2019, and have since gone on to complete my Level 2 qualification and to start my Level 3.

How has the pandemic affected your experience as an apprentice?

Like most people, my working life has been completely changed because of the pandemic. It’s hard to believe I’ve been working from home for almost a year now! My apprenticeship exams were cancelled, so I had to complete in-depth assignments at home instead – which I can’t say I was too disappointed about. I also had online support from my tutor, rather than our usual face-to-face meetings.

I found this transition quite challenging: the shift to working from home and not physically having the support around me was hard to adapt to. Fortunately, I had support from colleagues at work and my college tutor, who helped me to develop skills to stay productive working from home. A huge achievement for me was completing my Level 2 qualification during lockdown, which I’m really proud of. During my Level 2 Apprenticeship, I learnt about a wide range of topics, such as how to communicate successfully in a business environment, how to manage personal performance and workloads, and how to provide administrative support for meetings.

Mia Smith, Business Admin Apprentice for CPP Group UK

Can you shine a light on your experience as an apprentice?

There are so many positives to being an apprentice, but for me the best part is having the opportunity to gain a qualification and develop new skills whilst also earning a full-time wage. I found school quite challenging, and felt that the regular exams and high pressure weren’t conducive to my learning and I wasn’t getting the best out of it. Since starting my apprenticeship and learning whilst working, I think that I’ve really thrived in a way that more traditional learning institutions such as University wouldn’t have allowed.

Personally, one of the hardest parts about being an apprentice was seeing friends go to university and leave home for the first time. However, I think it’s really important to not compare your own journey to someone else’s – University wouldn’t have been the right choice for me, even though I’m sure I would have loved the student life!

How has your role transitioned from year 1 to year 2?

The fundamentals of my role are quite similar to when I first started, but as my confidence and abilities have grown, so have my responsibilities. Recently, I have started to assist with more operational activities, including dealing with invoices and other financial processes, developing process maps, and communicating with business partners. It has been great to have more responsibility and to have the opportunity to learn new things. I’ve also loved working with a cross-functional team who are always prepared to help and support each other. It’s great to look back and see how much I have grown professionally and personally since I first started at CPP!

What would your advice be to someone wanting to start an apprenticeship?

To anyone considering starting an apprenticeship – go for it! It can be daunting at first, especially if you haven’t had much experience in the working world before. However, it really is an amazing opportunity to obtain well-respected qualifications, gain experience, and start your career.

The following websites are great resources if you want to learn more about apprenticeships, or to find vacancies:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship

https://leedscitycollege.ac.uk/our-courses/apprenticeships/

Or connect with me on LinkedIn here, if you want to start a conversation.

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