Apprentices don’t let pandemic put off career plans

01 June 2020

Middlesbrough-College-News

Lockdown has not stopped North East apprentices from completing their studies and putting their first foot on the career ladder.

As thousands of businesses have adapted to new ways of working during the last few months, Northern Skills Group apprentices have shown unwavering commitment to their placements.

Eve Monaghan, from Northumberland, is just one of many trainees who’ve had to adjust to working from home in order to complete their apprenticeships.

The 21-year-old is a central campaigns apprentice at accounting software firm Sage and is on track to secure a Level 4 Marketing Executive qualification – the ticket to a career in the sector.

Eve said “At first it was tough as I’ve never worked from home before, but I think I’ve actually became more productive than I’ve ever been! I try to stay focused on what I’m doing and make sure I’m in regular contact with my manager and others on my team. 

“I take a few breaks each day to have a stretch and give my brain a break which also helps me stay productive. 

“I think I’ve adapted quite well to working from home but am looking forward to the day I can go back to the office and see some real people in the flesh!

Normally apprentices like Eve would be visited in the workplace by Northern Skills Group staff, offering guidance, support and assessment. 

Instead, the expert Northern Skills Group team – part of the Middlesbrough College Group of training providers – has only been a video call away.

Eve added: “I have definitely been supported by Northern Skills Group throughout these times. I’ve been speaking to my assessor Chloe on the phone and she has been motivating me to develop my presentation skills and revise for EPA. 

“My manager has been equally as amazing, checking in with me regularly to see how I’m coping with working from home and making sure my workload stays manageable. 

“Our wider team has also been hosting ‘virtual fun’ sessions for 30 mins every few weeks for us to get together to do something other than work – the first one was bingo which was lots of fun!”

And Adam Jennings from Peterlee, has also completed a Level 3 Digital Marketing qualification from home – even achieving the highest possible result of distinction.

The 21-year-old is now a digital marketing executive at specialist agency Property Webmasters, having picked up a wealth of skills and knowledge.

Adam says he was initially worried by how the crisis could impact his apprenticeship, but quickly realised he had the support to help him reach the finishing line.

He said: “After all the hard work I put in to get this far with my apprenticeship, hearing that I would have to complete my end point assessment at home was slightly worrying, however this did not really change anything. 

“No matter the location, I would still have to complete the same tasks. I already had a workstation set up at home, so the transition to working from home was seamless. 

“During lockdown it is important to stay positive. The constant updates from Northern Skills Group and Middlesbrough College have helped me to know exactly what I had to do for the next step of my apprenticeship. This helped me to stay on top of my work so I could give it my best shot.” 

Northern Skills Group works with hundreds of employers and thousands of learners to provide the skills needed for vital industries. 

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the whole Middlesbrough College Group has moved to remote working and learning – delivering lessons and tutorials virtually. 

Courses have been expertly engineered so that learners get all the benefits of industry-led programmes that were available pre-lockdown.

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