I am 18 years old and I’m from the Wirral. I finished my A-Level exams in June 2016. I then had a month of interviews for various apprenticeships, during which I turned one down on the off chance of getting this apprenticeship. It was the biggest gamble I’ve ever made, and I already know it’s paid off. On the 2nd of August I received an email telling me that I had passed interview. I was on a ferry returning from France at the time and I practically leapt on my friends to tell them the news. I then made the decision to defer my university place (as an insurance in case of any hitches) and prepared for working life.
Before I started at HMRC
I had some downtime prior to starting my apprenticeship in January 2017, so after spending a few months enjoying never having to wake up early or having much to do, I finally got bored of doing nothing and decided to get a job. I started working in a pub near me as a waiter, and realised that there really is a whole new world of people and skills after school. I soon got tired of only working two or three days a week and got another job working in a call centre as a temporary worker over the Black Friday period. These jobs really helped me to adjust to working like set me up with a good working mindset prior to starting here.
My road to this apprenticeship
This is the question that everyone asked when I told them I was going to do an apprenticeship. The whole apprenticeship thing started at AS Level when I saw that the post degree professional employment rates for my chosen subject (Economics) weren’t particularly high. So I started looked at courses with a year in industry which improved the chances of professional employment. Then my mind turned to pre-university internships – with the same aim. Slowly I started seeing apprenticeships that caught my eye and the more I looked at apprenticeships the more I liked them. They gave people qualifications and experience, whilst avoiding the massive debt associated with University. I applied for some, and was about to settle for the applications I had until I saw the Fast Track scheme. It was a higher apprenticeship with the option of Project Delivery from an extremely reputable employer that paid a lot more than the others I looked at – it ticked all the boxes. I applied for it, completed the online assessments and then immediately wrote it off. I immediately assumed that, given how attractive the scheme was, I wouldn’t have a chance. You can imagine my surprise when I was asked to the Assessment Centre, and then again when I was told I had passed! It certainly took the pressure off results day! I immediately knew that this opportunity was far too good to pass up on, and despite a few mixed reactions from some people I was unwavering in my decision to commit to this.
So far, so good
At the time of writing I have been in my post, in the HMRC Project Management Office in Bootle, near Liverpool, for 14 working days. I already know without a shadow of a doubt that I made the right decision to break entirely away from the world I knew and make the Leap of Faith into this. The team I’m in is a fantastic group of individuals who are incredibly supportive and understanding, as well as showing immense confidence in me. On my first day when I arrived, I already had my own project waiting for me in my inbox. The team have involved me in everything they can, taking time out of their hectic work schedules to help me, even when there has been none to take and they’ve been infinitely patient with me, despite me asking questions every five minutes. I’m learning so much more about so many things every day, I’ve never felt so eager to come to work in my life!
I can’t wait to start my formal learning, particularly earning my APMP qualification (a quick job search told me that this was crucial), and really get my teeth stuck into what my team does. I’m no longer worried about my future career, because I know that as long as I keep working hard I have that all important professional work experience that so many people find it hard to get. I’m still determined to get a degree, but I’ve started widening my scope as to what I can do. I’m no longer tied down by needing a student loan in the UK because I’m saving money every month, so I can look at taking a career break and going abroad or signing up for an Open University degree alongside whatever work I’m doing in a few years’ time. I’d like to stay with the Civil Service for a long time because they’re an honest employer who treat me very well, and although it may seem very far away, they have an excellent pension scheme. It’s another weight off my mind, knowing that I have a headstart on my pension in a world where many people worry about theirs.
Overall, I can’t wait to dig deeper into this fantastic scheme and make the most of this fantastic opportunity that’s landed at my feet.
Thanks for reading,