From internship to apprenticeship: how work experience helped me to get on the career ladder

Why an internship

During the summer of 2015 I was an intern for six weeks with City & Guilds’ Quality team. The six weeks was a really enjoyable experience, and I was glad that my sixth form teacher provided me with the opportunity to join the Career Ready Programme, which helps you find an internship. Doing an internship showed me what a work environment was like and, on completing it, I knew that I wanted to go into an office based job in the future. Had I not joined the programme I don’t think I would have really known what direction I wanted my career to go in.

Into a job

Not only is a long term work experience placement, a useful thing to be able to show on your CV, I felt that it also helped me with my interview. In my interview I was able to use real life examples with different work situations, demonstrating the skills I had learnt. Following my internship, I had a conversation with my sixth form teacher again and I was confident that I wanted to do an apprenticeship, as I did not feel a classroom environment, and therefore university, was for me anymore.

I was fortunate enough in that, whilst I was looking for a job, I had the contacts within the company to make enquiries into whether there were any future opportunities for me. The timings worked out really well, and an apprenticeship within the Quality team became available – I wasted no time and applied immediately. Now I am 9 months into my apprenticeship and am really enjoying it. I feel that my internship with the team helped me as I knew the processes, but I also had the confidence – which I gained from working in an office environment. During my time here I have been able to work on projects which have allowed me to improve my organisational skills, and I have also been able to help customers with any queries or questions that they might have.

My advice

My advice to someone thinking about doing work experience is to do it! Doing work experience – either a short two week placement or a longer internship allows you to explore your strengths and weaknesses, and also allows you to see if the job you are gaining experience in is the right one for you in the long run. Work experience also allows you to build a network of people who you can learn from, but also keep in touch with so that they can keep you in mind for any future opportunities. Ultimately, doing an internship gave me the confidence to go for an apprenticeship.

What’s next?

When I have finished my apprenticeship I would love for a permanent position to become available somewhere within the City & Guilds Group, but I know that if it doesn’t – I now have great experience on my CV. I love that doing an internship, and now doing an apprenticeship shows progression to other people who are at the start of their journey.

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Elizabeth Hill, City & Guilds apprentice

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Elizabeth Hill is currently doing a Level 3 Business Admin apprenticeship with the Quality Team in City & Guilds.