Ever since I was a girl I knew I wanted a career, not just a job that I didn’t feel connected to. My issue was that I didn’t know how to get to that career. I’d managed to achieve 10 great GCSEs, however my A-Levels did not go to plan.
I started off as a great student who really enjoyed school and wanted to go to Durham University to study accountancy (yes, that specific), and ended up leaving school after three years of sixth form with only one half-decent grade to my name. I felt like I’d let myself, my family and my teachers down. I knew I was never going to get into a university with only one grade so I threw myself into working full time – at least I was earning money.
This time last year I was working full-time as a waitress in a restaurant at a holiday park. I loved my job (most of the time) and the people I worked with, but I was stuck in a rut. I felt that there was no way I could progress in my role, with nothing to keep me motivated or to strive for… other than upping my (already excellent) cappuccino game.
At this point I’d had enough and needed a change. I started to polish my CV and look for a new job. After a few applications and an interview where I was told: “you have the qualities we’re looking for, just not enough experience,” I was left thinking, how am I to get a job to gain experience if no one will hire me because of my lack of experience?
That’s the moment it dawned on me: I was overlooking the perfect option for me… an apprenticeship.
At school I was led to believe that apprenticeships were for non-academic careers. If I wanted a career in business I’d have to go to university… get a degree. But researching what apprenticeships had to offer, I realised there was so much more to them.
To me, they’re the best of both worlds; they enable people to gain valuable qualifications while learning real on-the-job skills, and earning a wage. Surely a no brainer? So I decided an apprenticeship would be right for me. I subscribed to a mailing list with Bath College so that as soon as an apprenticeship popped up that matched my criteria I’d hear about it straight away.
I only applied for two apprenticeships, and both were with Curo. After doing plenty research I discovered that Curo offers an incredible apprenticeship scheme.
Firstly, Curo offers one of the most competitive wages on offer, above the minimum national wage for apprentices. I think that providing a fair wage is important to encourage more people into apprenticeships.
The company also offers travel expenses: a huge benefit for me as I commute around 35 miles every day. Not having to worry as much about filling up my fuel tank is a weight off my shoulders.
These two factors jumped out initially, but discovering Curo’s values and vison really resonated with me – this is where I wanted to build my career.
So here I am, working a 9-5 job and studying towards a Level 3 NVQ in Business Administration and I absolutely love it. I have amazing support within my little scheduling team as well as within wider Customer Contact Team. No two days on the scheduling team are the same and I love coming into work knowing I have no idea how the day is going to pan out… the unpredictability keeps me on my toes.
To answer that big question, where do I see myself in five years’ time…? I’d like to be a homeowner and, having completed my apprenticeship, I’d like to be progressing in a career that I love. A simple answer? Yes, but I know it might not be so simple to achieve.
I leave you with one final thought. If you have a son, daughter, relative or friend who’s unsure what they’d like to do with their life – perhaps stuck in a rut like I was – ask them to consider an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships exist for almost every career you could think of and open so many different opportunities. I’m sure that once they get reading they too will see all the benefits apprenticeships have to offer.