05 February 2020

Billie Elliott: Using an Apprenticeship to change career

In our latest blog celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, BILLIE ELLIOTT discusses how valuable apprenticeships can be for those with a strong set of transferable skills and are looking switching career.

Ever since leaving school at 16 years old I thought I had my career mapped out already. After getting the A-levels I needed, I studied for a PE and School Sport degree at Sheffield Hallam University.

Once I graduated, I then went on to further my degree and become fully qualified as a PE Teacher by successfully completing my PGCE.

After just under a year in the job, I quickly realised that being a teacher wasn’t for me and I couldn’t imagine spending another year continuing the monotonous work I was doing.

I wanted to change careers and needed new skills but I didn’t want to spend any more time at university but neither did I want to go into a job that held very little satisfaction or motivation for me, nor any room to progress within the company.

At first, I was reluctant to consider an apprenticeship. I saw this as something only school leavers would participate in and I didn’t want to be characterised as an ‘older person’ accessing an apprenticeship.

I spoke to my friends and family about the possibility of enrolling on an apprenticeship and everyone associated the concept of apprenticeships with something that was only for younger individuals, some even went as far as trying to discourage me from applying at all.

In the meantime, I continued to search for jobs that offered progression but it became clear that I needed to enhance my knowledge for this to happen.

After much soul searching, I bit the bullet and applied for an apprenticeship in Business Administration which turned out to be nothing like what I had imagined before applying.

My apprenticeship had no day release to college, so I took time away from my work weekly to complete the assignments that were necessary in order to pass the apprenticeship.

After only 3 months at Heathcotes, the company I was working for whilst completing my apprenticeship, I was offered a permanent position - something that I never thought would happen so soon – and continued working towards the completion of my NVQ at the same time.

In total, after 18 months at Heathcotes, I was awarded my NVQ Level 3 in Business Admin and can easily say it was the best decision I have made since deciding to leave the teaching profession.

I now have a defined career and different goals that I continue to work towards - all of this has been made achievable through accessing an apprenticeship.

I would even go as far as saying if I had not chosen an apprenticeship, I wouldn’t have the same career prospects that I do now, and I would urge anyone who is considering an apprenticeship to go for it!

National Apprenticeship Week Blogs 2020

Lucie Andrews: Myth Busting Apprenticeships
Isaac Azim: Why I Chose an Apprenticeship