This National Apprenticeship Week we’ve interviewed Aya – our Business Administration Apprentice – on why she decided to pursue an apprenticeship and how it’s helped develop her career so far!
Tell us your story – why did you decide to embark on a Business Administration apprenticeship?
I’ve previously worked in customer service, as well as in sales and I was looking for a career change, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do! I knew I wanted an office-based job, not entirely sure which role I should apply for and I wasn’t sure what I’d particularly be good at.
One challenging aspect of having a career change was needing experience, which most office-based jobs are looking for. I knew I wanted to work in sustainability and I managed to secure an apprenticeship with Action Sustainability, working across the Supply Chain Sustainability School and Sustainability Tool.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me is checking and responding to emails, answering client calls, and helping with admin tasks such as updating website information, booking train and/or hotel tickets, and many more. The collaborative nature of this role is something I really enjoy as I get to work on and support with multiple projects across the School and Tool and work with lots of different people.
What do you think is the advantage of doing an apprenticeship?
A big advantage is that I was able to get my foot in the door and start a career in an industry which I have no experience in but I was eager to work in and advance my career.
Another benefit is the great experience I get from working alongside talented people, soaking in the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in my role.
What would your advice be to people applying to do an apprenticeship?
I would say there are three main qualities which employers are looking for and are crucial to getting and succeeding in an apprenticeship:
Adaptability – The world is ever-changing, being able to adapt and adjust to different situations is a really important ingredient in excelling within any role.
Technical skills – As a lot of companies have moved online because of the pandemic, technical skills are becoming even more popular and necessary such as proficiency in Word, PowerPoint, Excel. It’s really useful to polish skills in analysing data as this can transform numbers into useful visuals and it’s a better way to present information.
Curiosity and willingness to learn – There are a million skills out there you can learn and it’s a matter of if you are willing to improve and explore. You never know if you’re going to be good at something unless you try!
Also, I started my apprenticeship during lockdown, which shifted a lot of businesses to online platforms and remote working. This enables people to work from home, which does come with perks, but there are also downsides. In terms of wellbeing, studies have shown that remote workers experience loneliness and mental health problems because the social aspect of work is cut out. It’s really important to build good relationships at work as this helps with motivation and creates a support network.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Especially if you don’t understand something, it is important to clarify and make sure you’re on the same page.
What do you think is the best thing about working for the Action Sustainability?
Action Sustainability was recently awarded with Best Companies’ “One to Watch Status”, which I strongly agree with! I’m really proud to be part of a company where they invest heavily in employee wellbeing.
Action Sustainability make sure that we experience a positive working environment, the team is very supportive, and people are always willing to lend a helping hand. It’s really motivating to know that I am part of a company that creates a significant impact on sustainability, especially in the construction industry which currently contributes around 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions.