The theme of this years National Apprenticeship Week is #LookBeyond With this is mind we wanted to visit some of our past apprentices, those who have now completed their apprenticeship and are in the next stages of their career. Sharing these amazing stories we hope will help those thinking about an apprenticeship to see that there is nothing at all to be worried about and it is a fantastic opportunity to begin those first steps in any career.
Our first visit was to previous SWAC apprentice Luke Damagnez and his employer The Finance Roome. We had a great catch up with Luke and his line manager Sharon and you can read more below from both Luke and Sharon as to how they found the whole apprenticeship experience and how Luke has become known as “Amazing Luke” with his colleagues!
Luke explained the difference he felt between the first day of his apprenticeship, and the last day of his apprenticeship “On my first day, all I can say is that I was very nervous and didn’t know what to expect! I had never done any sort of role within Administration, let alone mortgages and finance! Once the nerves settled, I was looking forward to starting my first proper job and learning everything. I continued to learn and study hard throughout my apprenticeship and on my last day of my apprenticeship, I celebrated in my favourite way, having a beer with the whole team!”
Luke explained how he felt that his apprenticeship has benefited his current job role “I think that the communication skills that I gained during my apprenticeship have helped me in my role. Not only this, I feel that my apprenticeship has made me more confident when working with colleagues, improved my time management as well as my overall workplace demeanour. Everyone made me so comfortable from day one and have been supportive of my constant progression. My apprenticeship has not only had a positive impact on my professional life, but also my personal life. I feel that since my first day of my apprenticeship, I have grown up in every aspect and have improved my communication skills as I socialise and communicate with everyone in my team.”
We asked what has been the most interesting part of his apprenticeship “I was always interested in the finance sector before my apprenticeship, I have really enjoyed this area, and continue to learn more about the sector as I am now studying towards my CeMAP qualifications to become even more knowledgeable and progress further in my career.”
So, what would Luke say to those considering doing an apprenticeship with SWAC? “I would say absolutely go for it! I feel that an apprenticeship is a great alternative to University as you gain a qualification, and you also gain vital work place experience. Having the support of SWAC, particularly my Learner Account Manager Shelley, meant I had another person supporting me to succeed.”
Luke has now been given a permanent role and ongoing training support with The Finance Roome, we spoke to Sharon who is the Business Development manager and had the following to say about the apprenticeship experience from their company perspective.
Sharon explained the initial reasons as to why The Finance Roome wanted to take on an apprentice and what attracted them to SWAC “We were looking for some administration support within the team and thought that it would be a great opportunity for both the organisation, and a hopeful apprentice.. As we had not had an Apprentice before, we contacted SWAC as we knew that we would receive support regarding the Apprentice’s employment to ensure that they were receiving the best support and experience possible throughout their journey.”
“A huge benefit to us was the aspect of recruitment. We are such a busy office and we knew how much time and resource is takes to handle the recruitment for a vacancy so we let SWAC do it! SWAC did the initial advertising and sifting of applications meaning that by the time candidates reached us for an interview, we knew that they had already gone through a screening process, making the decision easier for us, and more time effective”
Sharon described the benefits from having an Apprentice within the business “Our Apprentice’s role at The Finance Roome was a Business Administration Apprentice. Luke was studying a Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship at Gloucestershire College and he has successfully completed the course, and is now studying towards his CeMAP qualifications which will continue to benefit the business.”
“Luke has been an asset to the organisation, and became a vital part of the team straight away and we actually had to remind ourselves that he was an apprentice”
Sharon explained the benefits of having the support from SWAC, and particularly the Learner Account Manager – Shelley “We felt confident that things were going in right direction as, both Luke and myself, were in regular contact with Shelley to ensure that he was progressing well and as he should be. Having actual physical support in the form of Shelley visiting the office was really helpful as it allowed everyone involved to ask questions and ensure that Luke was going in the right direction”.
And finally, what would Sharon and The Finance Roome say to other companies thinking of taking on a SWAC apprentice, or an apprentice in general? “Just do it! Make sure you do preliminary interviews so that you know what to expect and to help you understand what sort of person you are hoping for in your Apprentice.”
If we can help you to find an apprenticeship or an apprentice for your business then please CONTACT US and we will be more than happy to help.
You can find our current vacancies here