Why I Chose To Do An Apprenticeship: Caxie Tells All
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It can be pretty daunting stepping out of school life and into the ‘real world’ and you might have a million and one questions; Should I go to Uni? Do I get a job? What do I want from life? Caxie tells us why – after a few twists and turns – she landed on her feet when she discovered apprenticeships.
I’ve just turned 21 and I’m doing an apprenticeship in Project Management Level 4. In a unique twist, WhiteHat are both my apprenticeship provider and my employer.
They’re a company that’s trying to create an outstanding alternative to university and help create a diverse range of future leaders. I work there as a Programme Operations Associate and look at the logistics of our apprenticeship programmes as we grow.
My journey started in 6th form in the the middle of my A-levels, at that point I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue studying because I was finding it way too mundane. My grades were good and all my teachers encouraged me to apply to university while I was still heavily searching for apprenticeships on the government website.
At that time, they all looked very low-paid and focused on Accounting and IT - which wasn’t me. So I started looking at life-changing trips abroad in a gap year. I still applied to Loughborough and other universities to do Sports Psychology, to keep my options open, and I got in.
Fast forward to the end of year 13, I deferred my place at university and turned my part-time waitressing job to a full-time one. I was loving the money in my pocket but felt unsatisfied because I felt like I was limiting my pathways. I missed learning and wanted to give myself more options.
In one of those moments of perfect timing, my old Media teacher sent me an email about a marketing apprentice role. I looked at the job role and was loving the idea of getting paid, working, learning and being in a professional setting. However, I didn’t love the idea of marketing. I was passionate about sports so was constantly Googling ‘sports admin’ and I got the first role I applied for as an apprentice.
15 months later, I completed my Business Administration Level 3 with a distinction, while also working as an Executive Assistant to the CEO of a sports company. I really enjoyed my time there, but I felt that my passion for apprenticeships was getting stronger; I believe they are an outstanding alternative to university for young people. That’s when I applied for the role of Programme Operations Associate at WhiteHat.
Despite my previous work experience, I was still very nervous for the interview for my second job – I wanted the role and felt that it was a step up professionally.
For my own benefit, I created a list to make sure I was 110% prepared for my interview and I want to share it with others so you know exactly what you need to do if you want to bag an apprenticeship:
- Researched the company (values, mission, complexity)
- Prepared challenging/interesting questions about the company/the role
- Prepared two personal strengths and weaknesses with situational evidence
- Prepared my journey with a 20-30 minute leeway
- Made sure I was hydrated and had eaten
- Made sure I was professionally dressed even though I knew both companies had a smart casual dress code
- Researched the people interviewing me on LinkedIn
And guess what? I got the job.
On a typical day, I get to sit in on meetings to find out all department updates and make sure I’m always in the loop with changes. Last week, I submitted a proposal that went straight to the Co-Founder. I’m currently running an event series called #BeABoss, which is available to the WhiteHat community and alumni to attend. Alongside my role at WhiteHat, I make sure I complete 20% ‘off-the-job’ training that is required as part of my apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships opened up a different door for me. It feels good that at 21, I have no debt hanging over my head, I can be very flexible about my future – and can even go on holiday!
If an apprenticeship sounds right up your street, you can find out more about them here.