Apprenticeship schemes allow their participants to learn alongside working, often featuring a combination of classroom, e-learning and on-the-job training. They are an invaluable way to enhance education, enabling access to roles and companies without having to follow the traditional university route.
Amelia Cook is a Legal Assistant completing the Portland Apprenticeship Scheme. Bradley Cook, Talent Business Partner, and Madeline Reay, Consultant, are both completing apprenticeships in Management and Leadership alongside their work at Portland. As part of Portland’s National Apprenticeship Week celebrations, we caught up with Amelia, Bradley and Madeline to find out more.
What do you do day to day?
Amelia: Most of the week, I carry out my usual work tasks such as chasing client teams for contracts, payment scheduling, DocuSigning… the list goes on. I then make sure that I factor in 8 hours of apprenticeship work. How you do this is up to you as an apprentice; what works for you as well as your company. In my case, I do 1.5 hours a day.
The work I do for my apprenticeship varies. It may be doing research, drafting assignments, revising, or contacting my colleagues for their input on my projects. Now that I am entering the project phase of my apprenticeship, as well as taking on more work tasks, time management is really important. Alongside my project, I have exams and interviews to prepare for, but I enjoy it! I have loved my apprenticeship so far, studying and working is a very good mix.
Bradley: My role at Portland is to manage global recruitment including talent mapping, talent strategy and securing key talent from Interns to Partners. My role also involves managing and overseeing projects, including early careers projects like our Graduate scheme and our 2022 Apprenticeship scheme.
Madeline: My day-to-day hasn’t changed too much since beginning my apprenticeship scheme. I spend the majority of my week on client work, but ensure that I make time for coursework throughout. It’s just like juggling another project.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Amelia: Allowing stress to get the better of me does NOT help. There have been a few points in my apprenticeship where this has happened. When I’ve stopped and allowed myself 5/10 mins to go away and breathe (or scream), I’ve come back calmer and more able to tackle the task.
Another thing I have learned throughout my apprenticeship is to be honest with your colleagues and manager about your workload. If you are struggling, or need more time/help to complete something, instead of letting it stress you out, be honest! Respecting the time you put aside to complete assignments is important.
Bradley: Having only started my apprenticeship in January 2022, I certainly have a lot more to learn than have learnt already. I’m learning how to set myself up for success by managing my time and energy effectively and consistently to do my day-to-day as well as the additional learning for my apprenticeship.
Madeline: Simply, time management.
What is your favourite thing about the apprenticeship scheme?
Amelia: My confidence has grown and I have learnt so much more about Portland than I otherwise would have. It has given me the opportunity to work in a great company, that I perhaps wouldn’t have had due to the more typical route to entry – university – not being for me.
Bradley: My favourite thing is that I’m doing it with other people at Omnicom [Portland’s parent company] agencies, so it’s a great chance to see new faces, hear more about their roles and generally just network with interesting people. There’s a real variety of professional backgrounds, showing that apprenticeships will set you up to apply the theory that you learn to any aspect of your professional life.
Madeline: You meet a plethora of new people that all do different things and work in various industries, which has been really interesting.
Why should people apply for apprenticeship schemes?
Amelia: If you’re like me and want to study but also want to work/gain experience, apprenticeships are ideal. They give you a great insight into different career paths within a company, which is helpful if you are unsure what you want to do career-wise. They also give opportunities to those who may not want to take the traditional university route.
Bradley: For me, the fact that you not only work as you learn but you apply that learning to every day situations is incredibly beneficial professionally. My apprenticeship in Management and Leadership is going to be invaluable when running the Talent team at Portland, being involved in several high-profile projects this year and beyond. You get incredible guidance, learn from industry experts, and get an accredited qualification!
Madeline: My course is focused on people leadership, so it’s really challenged me to think about how I work within teams and manage others. I have learnt a lot, so would recommend to anyone looking to expand their skills!
The Portland Apprenticeship Scheme will soon be accepting applications from talented and motivated individuals aged 16-24. If you are interested, find out more information and keep a watch here.
In addition, our permanent staff also have the opportunity to apply for the CMI Management and Leadership apprenticeship schemes as they progress their careers. You can check out our current vacancies here.