My Apprenticeship Story by Carmen Gomez
I started my journey in my early 30s, in an attempt to build a career with a clear progression path without giving up a steady income and a still-rewarding role at the Department of Physics.
As you know, apprenticeships offer you a broad range of benefits: earn while you learn, gain on-the-job experience, 20% off-the-job training, flexibility to study at your own pace, etc… However, not very often you do come across the downsides of these:
- Earn while you learn: you are no longer in school. You are committed to a job with contractual responsibilities and expectations to meet.
- Gain on-the-job experience: what you do or how you do it at work might not be what you need to do to meet the assessment criteria, which leads to duplication of work.
- 20% off-the-job: it is time to be dedicated to training-related tasks, not exclusively to studying or writing your assignments.
- Flexibility to study at your own pace: It requires great discipline to self-impose deadlines. If you let life or work get in the way, you will never complete your studies.
Be prepared for very long evenings reading, researching or writing your assignments after a long day at work or while a long list of chores is waiting for you at home. I was lucky to have such supportive and understanding family and colleagues but it is ultimately up to you to find the work-life-study balance.
Despite all the above, the challenges I had to overcome during the past couple of years (COVID, new line manager and apprenticeship assessor…), many sleepless nights and stressful days I can say that undertaking this apprenticeship has probably been one of the best choices in my professional life. Not only has led me to my new role but has also given me the confidence and courage to work towards my goals.