This article was first published in January 2020
Why was an apprenticeship right for you?
I left school after my A-Levels, unsure of the career I wanted to pursue. I ended up going full time at the company I already worked at and found I wasn't happy. I left and moved into a few different roles, but still didn't feel like I had found the career that was right for me.
Several people had mentioned that I should look at apprenticeships, but throughout school there was a stigma that they were only for those who failed to succeed academically. Now I have left school and am completing one myself, I can't believe how wrong this stigma was.
Around the time I left school, I had also been volunteering with a company called Showmasters Events who run comic-cons around the country. I had been volunteering at the events for a few years but soon they asked for help with moderation of their social media channel. As someone who spent a lot of time on social media, I put my name forward. After a little while helping, I knew that was the career I wanted to get into.
While looking for a new job in this sector I came across several apprenticeships, however, due to the stigma from my time at school and being 23, I was wary about applying as I thought I would be too old. Despite this, I tried to remain optimistic as there weren't a lot of other opportunities to get into my desired career path. While searching, I came across the listing for the Trust and it grabbed my attention. I had limited knowledge about the Canal & River Trust until I found the advert, so I began researching and fell in love with the charity and everything it stood for.
What would you say to others thinking of apprenticeships?
That you should apply and believe in your skills. I applied on the website and after a couple of days I was asked to do a pre-recorded video interview. I had never done one of these so was very nervous and ended up having a few technical difficulties. I thought I had ‘blown it' but around a week later I was invited to an interview in the Milton Keynes office.
Despite having experience of interviews before, I was very nervous as I wanted this so badly. My interviewers were my current manager along with the fisheries & angling manager as I would be responsible for the fishing social media accounts. I was concerned that my lack of knowledge about angling would negatively impact my chance of success, however, I felt confident that my social media skills would be enough to show how good I could be.
Luckily, I got the job and shortly after I was out on the towpath learning how to fish with one of our amazing ‘Let's Fish!' coaches, Nuala. I can safely say I have found a new hobby and can't wait to get back out there.
What has being an apprentice meant to you?
Being an apprentice is a great part of my career history. I love that you can learn while working and get paid a competitive salary. I have also been given more responsibility than I thought I would get as an apprentice and have completely taken over the social media channels. My job now includes creating plans of content to post on Facebook and Twitter and learning all about the analytics of each channel, which I had never had the chance to look into before.
It has been a huge learning curve in the short time I have been here, but I have settled in quickly and am raring to go for 2020 and beyond. I am most looking forward to the ‘Let's Fish' events and helping to introduce a new generation of anglers to our canals. There really is nothing more relaxing than sitting, waiting for a bite, seeing what you have managed to catch.