Georgia Wilde is an apprentice Project Manager working at Direct Line Group (DLG), completing her Level 4 APM Project Manager qualification with Babington. Georgia kindly answered a few questions about her apprenticeship experience so far.
What tasks do you get up to while completing your apprenticeship?
I work on the robotics programme, which is good experience of project delivery via shadowing. My workload is split into 3 rotations; PMO analyst, business analyst and project manager. I’m currently working as a PMO analyst and I’m due to start the next rotation at the end of March.
- Facilitating project meetings (working groups/project status meetings)
- Travelling across the country to attend meetings and meet team members from different locations
- Applying best practice in a variety of different methods
- Creating a project delivery plan/timeline and aligning with project resourcing controls
- Creating a scoping document to be used during a transition phase within the robotics programme
- Delivering presentations at team meetings
What kind of skills have you picked up so far?
- Everyday working life in a business environment
- Time management skills
- Improved skills on Microsoft Suite to a higher level than used in education
- Active listening – you cannot refer to a textbook after speaking with key stakeholders
What made you decide to go for this specific role?
I believe that apprenticeships offer a range of valuable life skills that cannot be developed at university. I am 19 years old and I feel as though I have developed a professional skill set way before others in my age group. I wanted to get a flavour for the world of work, studying for a qualification that will be recognised within the industry and potentially give me the upper hand when competing against job applicants educated to a degree level. Working life has also opened my eyes to the various opportunities and different career routes available to me.
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Do you find, as an apprentice, you are treated any differently to other members of staff?
All members of staff at DLG are extremely friendly and willing to help. However, I sometimes do worry that my thoughts/opinions on a piece of work will not be considered as I am an ‘apprentice’. I have overcome this in the past by proving my potential, and I will continue to do so throughout the duration of my course.
What benefits do you think there are when completing an apprenticeship, especially yours, instead of going to university?
I believe that an apprenticeship holds more value than a degree in non-vocational industries. Within my industry, experience is perhaps of a higher demand than education. The theory of project management is learnt via a virtual learning environment – BabingtonOnline. This theory could also be learnt as a degree, however I believe that the theory is only applicable if relevant experience is obtained alongside it – project managers need to know the theory and understand how to apply it in real-life situations. I also believe that apprenticeships are a good way of getting onto the career ladder early, while graduate schemes are often long-winded with no real direction. I feel proud to say that I will be a qualified project manager whilst my friends are still studying at university.
Any advice for those thinking of starting an apprenticeship, but are quite uncertain about entering the workplace?
Before starting my apprenticeship at Direct Line Group, I was worried about the office set up. I thought that my co-workers would be much older than me and we would have nothing in common. I was proven wrong when I found that most of my new peers were in their twenties, it was such a relief. I was also worried about being given unproductive/easy tasks; I am a fast learner and a keen, enthusiastic employee, so as soon as I am comfortable with a task, I inform my line manager and something more complex is assigned to me, which helps to further my skills and develop my capabilities.
What are your plans after completing your apprenticeship?
Upon completion of my apprenticeship, I plan to refine my skills at DLG (without the apprentice title). I have also been considering additional qualifications in finance or construction (very different industries I know) which will broaden my horizons. My goal would be to apply my project management skills learnt at DLG, to a range of different industries throughout my lifetime, to experience the difference between projects, after all they are all unique.
A great way to kick start a career in project management is through an apprenticeship. Find out more here.