Emily Parker

“Doing an apprenticeship has set me up for my future” – from A Levels to an apprenticeship that changed my life

One of our apprentices has had the ‘best start to [her] working life’ after completing an apprenticeship through City of Bristol College.

Emily Parker, aged 17, decided to swap A Levels for an apprenticeship, with the hope of stepping away from classroom-based learning in favour of a more hands-on role at a local charity.

Emily is completing her Level 2 Customer Service Practitioner apprenticeship placement with the Creative Youth Network (CYN) as a Centre Assistant. The large charity supports young people, regardless of their background or circumstance, to reach their full potential.

Emily explained: “Completing my apprenticeship with a charitable organisation means I am not just gaining a recognised qualification, but I am contributing to the Creative Youth Network’s mission by carrying out my day-to-day roles and responsibilities.”

Through her role with the CYN, Emily has been working closely with customers to the charity and is often the first point of contact during someone’s visit.

She explained: “My job role sits within the estates team, who are mainly responsible for bookings, hirers, tenants and the upkeep and maintenance of the site. While my main job role is to assist and help anyone visiting the estate, including both internal and external customers, my responsibilities within the estates department include answering booking enquiries, carrying out viewings of our studios, completing and placing bookings and producing quotes, all of which include a lot of communication with customers.”

While completing her GCSEs at secondary school, Emily wasn’t sure what her next step should be and decided to attend college to complete two A Levels. However, she decided quickly that full-time education ‘wasn’t for [her]’ and started to explore the apprenticeship route in more detail.

She said: “An apprenticeship route was the best option for me! It meant I would be able to gain work experience with a great deal of support as well as gain a recognised qualification, all while being paid! While taking and sitting A Levels is a great qualification to achieve, completing an apprenticeship provides you with the information and confidence in a working environment which a solely classroom-based qualification doesn’t.

Looking back on her journey, Emily said finding the ‘right apprenticeship for you is crucial’ and people considering the pathway should make sure to do a lot of research.

Finally, Emily said: “My apprenticeship hasn’t just set me up with a great qualification, it has set me up for my future. Thanks to my apprenticeship, I am confident in my area and field of work and will be confident in starting new jobs in the future. As well as being taught about the basic day-to-day tasks I am responsible for, I have been set up for life with great communication skills and first aid training. I feel I have had the best start to my working life and I am excited to use these new skills in the future.”

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