Training in the office
Last updated at 11:49, Tuesday, 25 March 2008
MARIE Donaldson was close to following a career in art and had even studied the subject to diploma level, but after a sudden change of heart she began looking for a more sustainable profession.
Through word of mouth, Marie, 19, found out about an apprenticeship run via Lakes College designed to train students in the workplace whilst they earned.
And after a lot of hard work and commitment, she has just recently began training in purchase management for Pentagon Chemicals as part of her administrative development.
“I made enquiries at Lakes College about the apprenticeship and was sent an application form,” Marie explained. “Friends who had taken the course told me it was a great way to train while earning a wage at the same time.
“As an entry requirement I was interviewed and had to sit a small test. Soon after they forwarded details of three apprentice opportunities; I was interviewed for each of them and one was the position at Pentagon Chemicals.
“I knew then that Pentagon Chemicals was where I wanted to work. The staff seemed friendly and approachable so I was really pleased and excited when they told me I had got the position.”
Marie, from High Harrington, began her Level 2 NVQ in Business Administration and within the first few weeks of her apprenticeship she was undertaking manageable tasks such as simple filing, invoices and answering the phones. Her learning stages were gradually progressed, a system which Pentagon Chemicals maintain aids a secure understanding in their apprentices.
“I’m really enjoying doing my NVQ; it’s all evidence-based work, taking what I encounter during my day-to-day role, and applying it to my portfolio work.
“Lakes College will usually set two cases studies which I will have to complete but then I’m able to choose three of my own. They could be anything from showing how I’ve dealt with customers over the phone to dealing with customers and suppliers face-to-face.
“A tutor will visit regularly to see how I’m coming along both in the workplace and with my portfolio. It’s great being able to gather evidence as I go about my day-to-day work.
“And it’s not often I have to take work home with me, it’s mostly completed during works time. It’s also helped that I’ve had some great support from all the staff here; if I’ve ever had any questions or problems they’ve been there for me, ready to help.
“As a profession, administration has been the perfect choice for me and being able to work an NVQ into my training has been even better. I began my training in a completely different profession, Art.
“I went to study a diploma in Art and Design at Cumbria Institute of the Arts after I left Southfield Technology School. I focussed on fashion design with my diploma and really enjoyed the course passing all my assignments.
“But then when I was ready to begin a career in fashion design I found my heart wasn’t in it; my interest wasn’t there to keep up with all the latest fashion trends and was proving really difficult to get into.
“So after working part time in retail. I feel like I fell on my feet when the opportunity arose at Pentagon Chemicals for the apprenticeship in business and admin. I enjoy coming to work dealing with the public and being part of a great team.
“But the role comes with some required qualities; you need lots of patience and a good attention span.
“I would love to stay here after my apprenticeship has finished and with my new role I’ve proved to myself and my colleagues that I can handle the extra responsibility.
“I’m pleased now that I decided to change the direction of my career; there will always be the need for admin and support staff in businesses – after all, they are the ones working behind the scenes who keep the business running smoothly.
“And I’m so pleased I took the apprenticeship route as most employers nowadays are looking for experienced staff. I’ve bee able to gain that experience and learn at the same time.”
Jackie Cass, accountant at Pentagon Chemicals, is responsible for Marie and her development in the workplace. She said Marie was performing really well and growing into the role: “Marie is increasing in confidence every day,” she said.
“I think that has a lot to do with the gradual introduction of different tasks each week rather than bombarding her with work. We’re letting her grow at her own rate but as a quick learner Marie has a bright future ahead.”
First published at 15:00, Thursday, 21 February 2008
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk