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.
We went to see Belle who is based in Bristol at Lye Cross farm we spoke to both Belle and her line manager Sarah. Belle is a SWAC apprentice and has recently completed her Level 2 Business Administration apprenticeship with Lye Cross Farm / Alvis Bros Ltd and is going to continue working with them once she has completed her apprenticeship.
We asked Belle about what her Host Organisation does and what her responsibilities within the organisation are. “My host organisation is a successful cheesemaker, they deliver cheese through export to different countries, as well as, delivering around the UK to a range of diverse suppliers. I work within the local sales department supplying a wide chain of schools and local shops with our products. My responsibilities involve making and receiving phone calls, inputting orders and invoicing using sage, using filing systems, totalling petty cash, using online EDI systems to pick up orders, planning driver routes, I also have a big involvement with the shop ensuring all the labels are up to date and the shop looks tidy during busy times like Christmas and Easter.”
We also asked how her work placement is going “I am very happy within my work placement, the main element of my job which makes it so enjoyable is the people I am working with. I have a really good relationship with my colleagues within the office, as well as other staff members who work in the shop below our office, this makes day to day life much easier. I feel like it’s important to get along with your colleagues as it makes the whole experience even better.”
Belle described the level of support she has received from SWAC throughout her apprenticeship, particularly from her Learner Account Manager, Shelley “Shelley has been so helpful throughout my apprenticeship journey at Alvis’; whenever I have needed to talk, Shelley will always book in a meeting with me. I have a very good relationship with Shelley and I feel like I can talk to her about anything. Shelley has been so supportive with my dance life which is massively important as it does clash with my job in some cases, so it makes it easier when trying to work around this.”
Belle also talked to us about her exciting plans for the future? “I am definitely going to stay with Alvis Bros Ltd to gain further experience but am also progressing within my dance life. Myself and the rest of the Dark Angels have recently made it to the Final 12 of The Greatest Dancer! I want to pursue this dream and ride it out for as long as I can. My apprenticeship will always come in handy as it developed my confidence, I have always been very shy but getting this career and meeting new people has made a massive difference in my personal life!”
And finally, what would Belle say to those considering an apprenticeship with SWAC? “I do truly believe that SWAC care about their apprentices and want them to do well. I receive regular checkups from Shelley which ensures I’m up to date with my work load. In these meetings, my Manager is also included so it is beneficial for me as an apprentice to find out how my manager thinks I am getting on.”
Belle’s Line manager Sarah had the following to say about Belle and their experience with apprentices overall:
“The initial draw to SWAC was that you can complete all of the initial process of taking on an apprentice and the recruitment of them, for us then the fact that SWAC will take on all the responsibility of the apprentice was a great help to our business and the support SWAC provide works. As well as this the recruitment has been consistent with both of our apprentices being a success. Belle is our second apprentice now and both Belle and Abigail have done Business Administration with Weston College.”
Please share any key benefits or positive outcomes the Apprenticeship has had on your business and your staff.
“Using the SWAC fully supported model and having apprentices has enabled us to grow as a business, without being in a position to have apprentices this growth would not be possible; the obvious cost benefits are there but also the apprentices themselves have been an asset to the business and a big part of our growth. The support from our account manager Shelley has been consistent across both apprentices that we have had and knowing that we can call on Shelley when ever we need her is great. We have also got to know the SWAC team and know that we can call on any of them should we need too.”
What would you say to other companies thinking of taking on a SWAC apprentice, or an apprentice in general?
It is a great idea! Taking on an apprentice can be a daunting idea as you have no idea what they will be like and it feels like a lot of responsibility, but SWAC take all of that away and they understand what it is to work with young people and will deal with any of the issues that may come up. As well as that they recruit people who are keen to work and learn. As an SME business it is important that young people know that unusual jobs exist within the SME world and that they may not always be what you think and here at Lye Cross has been a great example of this for our apprentices.
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