National Apprenticeship Week 2020 - Look Beyond

Ahead of National Apprenticeships Week 2020 (3-9 February), we spoke to Jay Grant, International Trade Officer at Doncaster Chamber, about his apprenticeship experience: what he learnt, what he liked and why he'd recommend them.

Jay completed a Level 2 apprenticeship in Administration and Level 3 apprenticeship in Customer Service at East Midlands Chamber.

“I started looking for an apprenticeship while I was in my last year at Nottingham Academy Sixth Form studying Business Studies and Sport. Competition for entry-level jobs is tough, and I knew that pursuing an apprenticeship with the opportunity to get on-the-job training and experience would help me progress my career after I left school.

My apprenticeship was really enjoyable. Every day was different, which meant it never got boring!

My role involved supporting the team to process documentation and handling customer queries. Throughout the scheme, I took on higher level tasks that supported my apprenticeship modules, and after a few months one of my managers suggested I start learning more about the International Trade side of the business.”

Jay’s team were so impressed with his progress that they offered him a full-time role as an Adviser after completing his apprenticeship and training.

“The best thing about my apprenticeship has to be the support and recognition I received from my colleagues and senior management team. As soon as I started, it felt like I was embraced as an asset to the team. I was trusted to deliver critical projects independently whilst interacting with colleagues of all levels and seniority. My managers were incredibly supportive; the guidance and encouragement they offered me was invaluable.

My apprenticeship taught me so many new skills. Working full-time and studying at the same time is challenging, so it was important that I learnt how to manage my time and workload effectively so I didn’t miss any deadlines. 

My self-confidence has improved massively, too. When I first started, everything was completely new and I wasn’t so sure of myself - it was my first “proper” job! After a while, though, I got into the swing of things and began to feel much more comfortable.”

Future options

After completing my apprenticeships in 2017, I decided to stay full-time with East Midlands Chamber. The position they offered me required organisation, an eye for detail and the ability to self-direct – all things I learned during my apprenticeship that helped me make a success of the role. 

I would recommend apprenticeships to anybody. In my opinion, you’re gaining the experience and knowledge from working with professionals who really know how to do their job - they can teach you things you just wouldn’t learn in a classroom.”

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2020 is Look Beyond - encouraging people to look beond the outdated stereotypes surrounding apprenticeships. Find out more:


Posted: 01 Feb, 2020

National Apprenticeship Week 2020 - Look Beyond