My name is Conor, I am currently on an apprenticeship course with Dudley Council. The Course I’m on is Business Admin, but before I talk about that first a little about me.

I’m 21 years old and I had already gone 21 when I started my course so don’t think that your too old if you’ve already been out of education for a while. Before I decided to do this I worked for a very popular fast food restaurant for over 3 years but I wasn’t happy there. I felt like I wasn’t appreciated, that I was just a number and after a while it became apparent that the hard working, intelligent staff do most of the work and hard graft whilst the lazy or incompetent staff got to do hardly anything because that was all that was expected from them and they would not get the difficult or demanding tasks, where as in my eyes if a member of staff is lazy don’t accept that they are lazy, discipline them. So all in all it was an unfair company to work for, they hire new 16 year old staff members, cut the hours of the loyal full time 21+ year old staff that have been there for years so they can save money on wages, some weeks I’d work till 3am five nights a week and still only get 20 hours.

Now the reason I went into that much detail of my previous job is so that you can draw a comparison from that to what I am doing now, which we will get too shortly.

I felt as if I would never move up the ladder at my fast food job as they seem to promote the right face and the person to make the numbers up instead of the person best suited for the role. I chose to do an apprenticeship because although I had already completed my A Levels I wanted more qualifications in order to broaden my skill set and allow me to apply for a wider range of jobs even if I didn’t secure a job at the end of the 12 months. The reason I chose Dudley Council is because I had heard good things from a few people I knew within the Council and it seemed like it would be a very good opportunity. The application process was simple enough I just had to register and apply through the website and not long after I heard back and attended an interview. From just the interview alone I knew that my mangers were nice and approachable and that if I was taken on that I would be made very welcome into the team. I was offered the position even though I had no previous ICT or business qualifications or experience I would say I only had very basic computer knowledge to begin.

Being honest I expected to just be sat at a desk sending e-mails and updating spreadsheets and don’t get me wrong that is a decent part of my role but it is definitely not limited to just that. I’ve been out on a few visits to meet clients which is always interesting allows me to see what kind of service we deliver here in my office and I also attend a weekly drop in advice centre for clients in the Netherton area, I was involved in setting up the drop in centre by making posters, leaflets and sending out advertisement as well. Other duties of mine include sorting the post out and covering the phones once a week, doing surveys on closed cased clients, all sorts of admin work and I get to use my initiative to suggest better more efficient ways of me doing my tasks, my opinions are always listened to.

In my first week they made the transition and slight over lap from one job to another very smooth for me which allowed me to settle in nicely and before my first week was over I felt accepted into the team and have already met people who I now gladly regard as friends. I feel that the balance of work load is very fair and shared out evenly, also I feel a lot less stressed in this job although I am very busy some days, you can actually hit the targets you’ve been set or that you set yourself whereas within the fast food industry you’re never good enough they always want more sales, more money and less staff hours. Now I get praised for my achievements and receive constructive feedback on areas that I need to work on. As mentioned before I work with a lovely team who are always here to help me with any quires or concerns I may have. The fact I work 9 till 5, have weekends and bank holidays off is fantastic I’ve finally managed to get a social life back again and even have time to start and put the effort into a serious relationship for the first time in years. One of the things I like the most about this role and this may not be something that bothers some people, is that when I go home at the end of the work day I know that the work I’ve done has helped or will go towards helping someone who is either venerable or going through a rough patch, sometimes I will have personally done something to help a client and other times it will be something I’ve done that will indirectly help somebody or help someone else within my team help somebody at a later date, which really makes me feel so grateful I managed to better my position and seize this opportunity. Another thing I’m really pleased about is since being in this role it has helped me to be a lot calmer, more professional and I’m genuinely a happier person within myself.

I hope reading this has been informative and interesting and for those who are thinking of joining a council apprenticeship I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.