I feel privileged to be one of the guest tutors at The Juice Academy and I want to share three personal experiences of working with Apprentices.

 

(1) Realising Ambitions 

Last week, I was enjoying a pre-dinner drink at the HR Distinction Awards before we were called through to dinner. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot somebody waiting to speak to the group I’m with. I look up, and immediately recognise Craig Butler, a social media apprentice with The Juice Academy. I say hello and ask Craig what he’s doing there as I wouldn’t expect to see him at that event. It turns out that Craig is one of the speakers at the awards, speaking as a Young Ambassador on behalf of The Prince’s Trust.

 

Craig drinks reception

 

A little while later, Craig is on stage addressing a big crowd (I’m guessing 500-600). Even a failed microphone doesn’t put him off, and he does a great job of sharing something of his personal journey (which has been a challenging and difficult one). And I think back 12 months, when I vividly remember working with Craig and the rest of that cohort, and Craig talking about an ambition to speak publicly as an ambassador for young people. And I am so proud for him, that he is on stage, realising his ambition, and doing it. (And he nailed it!)

 

Craig on stage

 

(2) An Apprentice’s tale

I’ll leave it to Craig to tell a bit more of his story:

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship? “I chose to do a social media apprenticeship at The Juice Academy as an alternative to University. I’ve always been ambitious and getting my foot on the career ladder was massively important to me. An apprenticeship is the perfect way to break into the industry because it offers the hands on experience that a degree lacks. For example: all of my tutors at The Juice Academy are industry experts and leaders in the field. I’m also quite impatient so getting into employment as soon as possible was a must for me!”

What has been the most valuable lesson that you have learned so far? “The most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far is that regardless of whether you’re an apprentice or a CEO, you need to be flexible to suit the needs of others. You need to be able to adapt to anything and anyone you come into contact with to be as successful as possible. My apprenticeship has helped me to understand that as I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside people of all levels. It’s a lifelong skill that will be useful in anything I do in the future! I’ve also learned that it’s important to not just take opportunities but to create opportunities for yourself.”

What would you say to an employer thinking of hiring an apprentice? “I would tell them to definitely do it, without a doubt. Apprenticeships are brilliant; they give the employer a chance to shape the future of the organisation while helping young people in a particularly difficult climate. I see no reason as to why any business wouldn’t want one!”

 

You can read more of Craig’s story here.

 

(3) Ambitions yet to be realised

Two days later, I’m working on effectiveness and resilience with the current cohort of Apprentices and I’m getting them to think about what they want to achieve by the end of their Apprenticeship and plan out what steps they are going to take to make it happen. And I can sense the energy and enthusiasm as they articulate their ambitions. And, my mind flits back to seeing Craig on stage and I’m really excited about the prospect of seeing them realise their ambitions. And I’m delighted that Apprenticeships exist, giving them the opportunity.

 

I have a very positive view of Apprenticeships; what I have witnessed is young people being presented with real opportunities and employers benefiting from talent, and I believe that is hugely worthwhile!

 

Note: This is one of a series of blog posts I’ve written for The HR Director Blog and is reproduced here with permission.