Posted on 24 June 2022

​In the twilight of adolescence, GCSEs are barely finished before children are faced with a question: university or apprenticeship? With such pressure at this age, a transition into work through an apprenticeship can be a good platform to get used to work whilst still having room to grow and mature. However, apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers; many people who have changed career, found a different vocation or even looking to apply their skills in a different way. Here at Sterling Cross, we have previously taken on staff through apprenticeships and currently employ Rhiannon, a biosciences graduate who wanted to apply her skills from the theory side of science to her role as an Apprentice Business Administrator. Here’s what she had to say about her transition:

“My background is actually in bioscience, but as my degree wound down, I realised that I enjoyed the theory and organisation side of lab work a lot more than the experiments themselves (strange, I know!) – which got me on the path into admin”.

Rhiannon gained access to Sterling Cross through the government’s Kickstarter scheme which allows 16-24 year olds to gain placement into a business whilst gaining qualifications. The scheme is funded by the government for 6 months, giving business a little breathing room to employ someone who will be nurtured and crafted into an ideal, bespoke position to serve the business need.

“My initial 6 months on the Kickstart scheme was an excellent introduction to office and recruitment admin, and I jumped at the chance when Sean and Dan offered me the opportunity to complete the Level 3 Apprenticeship in Business Administration”.

Apprenticeships are more dynamic than other full time roles because of the ability to craft and design bespoke roles and training to get a dedicated employee with a more flexible job description. Businesses who employ apprentices can also offer funded training;

“My apprenticeship takes an integrated learning approach, combining off-the-job knowledge workshops with on-the-job training and skills development, and I am supported by both my dedicated apprenticeship coach and my colleagues at every stage. I really like how I’m learning in-depth about the “why” and well as the “how” the best administrators do what they do, and I definitely didn’t understand that administration is such a huge, varied, and complicated field before I started the apprenticeship!”

The flexibility in the bespoke nature of the role means employers can assign tasks where there is a business need and allow a dynamic approach to work management, giving a real-time responsivity to demands. For example, someone working in an admin team under the kickstart scheme may be able to cover more basic tasks whilst senior employees deal with an emergency or competing demand. This ‘on the fly’ availability, alongside other set and targeted goals mean an individual can grow into their role with stability but also experience the ever changing world of work in a controlled fashion. Rhiannon provides a very important role in business administration and has a dynamic work schedule – here’s what she had to say on her typical tasks;

No day is the same, as my duties are so varied and can range from writing and editing procedures, creating and posting adverts on social media platforms to writing the initial job advert.  GDPR is important to Sterling Cross, so I am also tasked with ensuring that any data process is compliant”. 

Whilst fulfilling this role alongside training there is a mutual benefit – apprentices benefit the business demands and the business supports the apprentice to gain valuable training, which will help out their career aspirations way beyond their first company. Apprentices under the scheme are given protected hours to fulfil their apprentice specific tasks and receive in depth support in a mentorship fashion from senior business members.

Taking on apprentices is a win-win for both parties. Individuals get a chance to experience work and full employment, whilst the business owner is able to dynamically craft a role they may have needed for a long time. And after getting used to the work, the apprentice can become confident and empowered to nurture their own goals for their career whilst learning on the job. Rhiannon is a valuable part of Sterling Cross and very much important to how we function – but don’t take our word for it;

“I’m very happy working as an Apprentice at Sterling Cross, and I’m looking forward to seeing how my role develops as I move through my apprenticeship!”

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