This week, we thought we’d share the story of Beckie, who joined our apprenticeship scheme as a shy school-leaver, but has quickly gained bags of confidence and progressed to a permanent and responsible role at Gateway.
“As a young teenager, just leaving school with all my GCSEs, I was very enthusiastic about starting and kicking off my career, but I couldn’t seem to find myself a work placement,” Beckie says. “After making a number of applications, I headed down to my local library to do some research and it was here I came across a leaflet for Gateway Family Services.
Beckie applied for a role as Lighten Up Apprentice and came for interview. Although she wasn’t successful, those who interviewed her thought she showed potential so, as we knew there would be other opportunities, we got back in touch and offered her some pre-employment support.
“After completing a few workshop training sessions I was put forward for an apprenticeship with the EAST department,” Beckie explains. This time she was successful so she began her induction and was trained in a number of key areas.
“I was moved around the company to support different departments,” she says. “This helped greatly in building my confidence and becoming more aware of how to work successfully in a business environment.”
A shy start
Beckie was 16 when she started work with us. She’d left school the previous July and had never worked before, so coming to us was a whole new world. She was really quiet in those first few weeks and struggled to talk to people. In fact, at the start, we revised the jobs we gave her as some just felt too stressful for her, due to her nervousness. So, for example, we took her off answering the phone.
However, she did well on the administrative tasks she was given – she was quick and precise, and the feedback from her tutor in terms of her progression on her Business Administration course was good.
Over time Beckie took on more and more. One of our departments was particularly busy so she helped them with their admin work which eased their pressures and gave her more confidence, as she was working as part of a team. After a while she started doing a bit of work on the phones and eventually started answering our main switchboard calls.
“Since then I have supported all different areas of the company, which has really helped me to progress my skills,” says Beckie. “I’ve also successfully obtained an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration, and am now doing my Level 3.”
Beckie completed her apprenticeship last summer and received the certificate for her NVQ level 2 Business Administration at our Gala. Around the same time she was placed with Lighten Up full time. Lighten Up is a telephone support service, so this shows how far Beckie had come.
Just before Christmas last year Beckie applied for, and was appointed to, the role of HR Administrator, and started her new role at the beginning of January.
“I couldn’t have done this without all the help and support I received from Gateway,” she says.
Apprenticeships help everyone
We are dedicated to supporting our apprentices, because apprenticeships benefit everyone.
As well as giving people experience and knowledge of the working world, we try and address the needs that aren’t directly work-related, too. For Beckie, this was her confidence. She had a mentor, Chelsea, who gave her some direction and was on hand for a chat about anything, work-related or not. We made sure that all of the roles we gave her would allow her to work to the same goals – not just learning about office admin, but building her confidence and gaining life skills.
Apprenticeships like Beckie’s really help Gateway too. Office Manager Cheryl says, “because they need to learn a wide range of skills, apprentices are not restricted to one role, so we can place them where they are needed. For Beckie, this meant that she could get experience in a variety of office admin roles, whilst continuing to learn and build her confidence in the areas where it was lacking.
“By the time she got the HR Administrator job, Beckie had a good knowledge of all areas of the organisation, its processes and policies – and she already knew the staff, so she was an ideal fit for the role.”
We’re really proud of Beckie. She’s ambitious and works hard. She’s made the most out of the opportunities she’s been offered and as a result she’s quickly progressed.