As your new Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year I’m proud to have the opportunity to bring you my first post to this blog.
My name is Ben Hyde and my aim for the year ahead will be to get the name of apprenticeships out there and to champion the fantastic work being done by apprentices and to support apprentices right here in Worcestershire.
This is something my predecessor Pippa was also passionate about and has done a wonderful job of sharing to this blog over the last 12 months.
But first let me introduce myself properly and give you a brief outline of my background and experience as an apprentice.
Before joining Sanctuary Group as an apprentice I studied for my AS-Levels in Business Studies, ICT and English Language and Literature at Bewdley Sixth Form Centre.
I enjoyed my studies and my time there but I already knew that I didn’t want to head down the university route to continue my education – I wanted to get started in a working environment in my chosen field.
I first found out about apprenticeships, and the scheme offered by my employer, Sanctuary Group, through Worcester group Training Association and I knew straight away that it was the right option for me.
I applied successfully and started my accountancy apprenticeship with Sanctuary in September 2016.
My first placement saw me working in our Government Procurement Card (GPC) team, working with staff from across our varied business areas to arrange and manage company credit cards to help them purchase items to fulfil their roles.
I’ve recently moved to the central services team to continue my apprenticeship and gain experience in another part of the business. I’m currently being trained in this new role but I’ve already learned lots and am enjoying finding out more about another area of the business.
I also spend one day a week at college, where I have already completed my Level 2 accounting qualification and am now studying for my Level 3.
I think apprenticeships are such a valuable opportunity, allowing you to gain real working experience in a professional environment while studying for nationally-recognised qualifications at the same time.
There have already been so many highlights of my time with Sanctuary, but for me the very best thing is the people I get to work with every day and the support I receive from my line managers, the apprentice co-ordinators and our Learning Academy to help me build up my skills.
Speak to any apprentice and I am sure they will eagerly tell you that apprenticeships open up opportunities.
As a member of the West Midlands Young Apprentice Ambassador Network I’ve had the opportunity to visit the House of Commons, to attend a special reception organised by the then Minister for Apprenticeships, Robert Halfon MP.
I was one of three apprentices from Sanctuary Group to attend and we were able to meet with other networks from across the country and hear from the minister about his opinions on apprenticeships and his plans for the future.
Another standout moment for me – and the reason I’m able to write this blog – was having the chance to attend the 2017 Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards.
I had attended the awards ceremony the previous year and saw other Sanctuary apprentices picking up awards, which was a real inspiration to me, so to win the Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year and Intermediate Level Apprentice of the Year awards was a fantastic moment for me personally and testament to how much my apprenticeship has helped me develop.
Those are some of my stories and experiences but the thousands of other apprentices across Worcestershire and all over the country will each have their own, and that is a big part of what makes apprenticeships work.
I’m already excited to find out what the next 12 months has in store and I hope you will join me on that journey.
Thank you for reading! For regular updates, follow @No1_apprentice.