It’s no mean feat to combine commitments at work with an apprenticeship or NVQ, but with hard graft and bit of planning, it can be done. Emma and Nicola are the proof that it’s possible and here they provide some insight into how they made it work and how rewarding they’ve found the experience.
I started as an apprentice in February 2013 and completed my first NVQ – Business Admin Level 2 – in just under a year. After that, I was taken on as full time staff and six months later I applied for the Leadership Development Programme and started my Management Level 3 qualification.
Studying for the NVQ and working at the same time, the biggest challenge was juggling my time. At first it was difficult – full time work was new to me – but after a while I got into a routine and things became more manageable.
What helped me the most? The support from my colleagues and my manager was crucial. There are a lot of witness statements and reflective accounts involved in the course and they were able to give me valuable guidance, especially when it came to explaining the more technical parts of a job.
The Business Admin NVQ gave me a much better understanding of my role as I had to dig a bit deeper for information I might not have needed if it hadn’t been for the course. The Management NVQ has some great advice for people taking on a leadership role as well, and helped me understand the qualities required to be a good manager.
My one piece of advice? Get yourself organised. Taking on your first full time role is daunting enough but you need to be able to do your job and study, so make sure you’re on top of things and put in the hours outside work to get a good result in the NVQ. It’s tough to begin with but the rewards are worth it.
The great thing about these NVQs is that they’re so practical – every part of the course relates to tasks you do on a daily basis for Enterprise, so what you’re learning is relevant to your job. When I began my NVQ with Waverley Training, I started off in the credit hire department. Since then, I’ve moved twice from a recoveries-based role to the accounts team and with each move the work required for my Business NVQ can be applied to the workplace around me – and my tutor has been brilliant at helping me see the connections.
Before I started, I worried about how many hours I’d need to spend each week on my NVQ. After almost completing the Business and Admin Level 2, I’m surprised to say that it didn’t take up as much time as I thought it would. I see my tutor about once a month, where she sets me some new work to do for our next meeting. I always allow a couple of hours a week after work to complete the different tasks, but in all honesty I never fully use up this time. Not only that, but Enterprise is very generous in allowing you an hour a week – within work hours – to complete NVQ work.
Although you can follow the course in paper form, I don’t. Everything you need is online and it’s great not lugging books around all day. And this way, I know I can’t lose anything!
If you’d like to join Emma and Nicola on an NVQ, why not get in touch with us here at Enterprise?