My name is Lauren Smithers and I've recently started an apprenticeship as a Marketing Executive for Pearson promoting - apprenticeships! In this unique position I'm going to write regularly about apprenticeships generally and what's it's really like to be an apprentice in 2018.
A new chapter
Before I started here I didn’t have a job title title. I was just Lauren. I worked from 8.30 to 5:30 in a small shop. I never learned anything new. There was no progression, no prospects - and from where I was sat - no future.
Looking for a new job was my main priority. I had left school with enough qualifications to attend university but decided against it. I’m not the kind of person who could sit in a lecture hall for 2 hours, 3 times a day, five days a week for the next four years of my life. University is fantastic, but I knew it wasn’t the right choice for me.
When I saw an ad for a Marketing Executive apprentice, I applied without hesitation, despite having no experience or qualifications in marketing. That’s the great thing about apprenticeships - you don’t need experience. You’re taught as you work by qualified colleagues until you, yourself, become qualified.
Having never done an interview before EVER, the whole recruitment process was very nerve racking. I had an initial interview with the recruitment company and then a day in Pearson’s Holborn office with five other candidates where we were asked to do different tasks and tests.
I didn’t really need to be nervous. Everyone I met that day was unbelievably welcoming and reassuring. They put me at ease and let me perform to the best of my abilities and that made all the difference. I must have done OK because 2 days after the interview they rang and offered me the job.
The first couple of weeks
I’ve been here for a month now and it’s a lot to take in, but my guess is that it’s the same for all apprentices. So many names and faces and information to remember - it’s been slightly crazy! It’s been quite an adjustment, with all the travelling to get to and from work and training to be able to use the different systems. I feel shattered but I know I’m not alone - I have a great support network here.
It’s been exciting too - a brand new adventure. To start from the bottom and work my way up this ladder of knowledge, learning and meeting new people as I go.
It's early days but I feel so positive. My manager may not have changed the world by employing me, but he has changed my whole world in just one short month by giving me this chance.
In my next blog post I'm going to write about my first six months as an apprentice. Please follow me on LinkedIn as I grow my professional network.