As an apprenticeship provider, we strongly believe in the value of apprenticeships to all businesses – including our own!
Shelby Harrison has been at Babington for almost a year now after starting an apprenticeship when she finished school, working in the learner engagement and support team. That means Shelby speaks to potential apprentices who are looking for their next opportunity every day.
We caught up with Shelby to hear about her apprenticeship experience so far.
Hi Shelby! How did you first find about this apprenticeship, and what were you doing before it?
I started applying for apprenticeships when I left school – I knew I had to get some experience and do something with myself. I must have applied for 100 jobs and apprenticeships before I got this one. I had applied for a different apprenticeship through Babington, and Jenna (one of our staff) put me forward for this apprenticeship instead, and now I’m here!
I wasn’t completely aware that this was a recruitment company before I applied, and I had no idea what I wanted to do before I came here, but I just knew I had to start somewhere professionally. The apprenticeship gives me an opportunity to at least try this role, and also I’m able to gain a qualification at the same time. I’m doing a business admin level 2 qualification – and I’m nearly finished with it. It’s given me new skills, and I’m learning new things about working within a business.
What is your role at Babington?
My role includes lots of different things, mainly to do with engaging new and current apprentices. This means I write up apprenticeship and traineeship vacancies, includes data input and sorting learners for roles, and communicating with them to help them find an opportunity.
However, I take on different tasks almost every day, even smaller things like adding key vacancies and photos on the boards in the office. I’m ready to take on whatever is thrown my way!
What are the most rewarding parts of this apprenticeship?
I know that we are helping people who were once in my position, so to see them get an opportunity is rewarding, as I know how good it feels to finally get something! When I update the website with new apprenticeship vacancies, it satisfies me that some people wouldn’t get anywhere if they didn’t see what I posted in the first place.
And what were your biggest challenges so far?
I started the apprenticeship at the end of the month, which is when all the accounts have to be drawn up. It’s always a testing time at a business. Everyone was rushing around me and giving me new tasks and responsibilities, and I just had to get them done! It was my first week, so I had to learn very quickly. However, that experience really helped me – since then, I now know how to work quickly and efficiently, especially at the end of the month.
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We remember you had someone here on work experience last week – has the apprenticeship given you some leadership skills too?
Yeah, he was working on the vacancies and short descriptions with me, and making the vacancies more appealing for our readers. The apprenticeship has definitely helped me guide people – we’ve just had a few new starts in our department, including a new manager, so I’ve been helping them with the apprenticeship database.
I also had to give advice and guidance to people who were older than me, which wasn’t an issue for me at all – in the end, it’s just helping people. I started to realise how much I’d learned just by helping others.
How have the team helped you at Babington?
They really helped me settle in, they are always there if I need a hand, and talk me through things if I get confused. As an apprentice – you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions! There’s no difference at all from how I’m treated compared to a regular member of staff.
In what ways have you changed since starting the apprenticeship?
I feel I’ve matured a lot. I came here directly from school (which I really didn’t enjoy). The apprenticeship gave me a chance to mature and change. You have to become professional and adapt to the working environment.
From someone that’s been there, what advice would you give to others who are not sure what to do next?
Nobody is sure what they’re going to do at the age of 16, so you need to keep trying different things until you find something that will help you develop. If you’re not sure on your choice, then try something else!
With an apprenticeship, you’re always going to have those qualifications there as well, which is super important. More importantly, don’t give up – there are opportunities out there for everyone.