With the tech-world growing frighteningly fast, it is important that the next generation are prepared. Although the usual University route is still remaining popular; apprenticeship participation is at an all-time high, with 491,300 apprentices starting in 2016-2017 (according to https://www.gov.uk/).
As someone who has been lucky enough to experience both University and apprenticeships, I took an interest to see what drove others to want to follow the apprenticeship route, rather than the growing trend of University, and how others find their life as a Natterbox Apprentice.
The reality of life as a Natterbox Apprentice is learning the ways of the technological world. For most, an apprenticeship is experiencing the working world for people who have mainly come from a background of studying and exams, and can be a massive shock to the system for people like me, who are used to the crazy uni life.
I currently am on my Placement Year which is my third year of a four year course studying BSC Marketing. I chose to work as an apprentice in the marketing department at Natterbox for this year, due to the growing opportunity I feel that they can give me now and in the foreseeable future. After asking multiple apprentices about their time at Natterbox, I came to the conclusion that the majority of people were unsure exactly what an apprenticeship entailed before they started, and didn’t know what to expect when signing up for one. Luckily, I’m yet to find someone who was not pleased with the outcome.
Starting off as an apprentice initially meant a change in routine, I went from having lectures for two hours a day max for four days a week, to doing eight and a half hour shifts Monday to Friday. However having a structure to my life again after two years of doing pretty much whatever I pleased, is quite refreshing and being able to have a professional work environment means that I can stimulate my brain again.
Being able to learn on the job and have work experience was something that attracted others to this particular career choice. Sabina Oscar, has been working at Natterbox for just over a year as an apprentice in Customer Support, and stated that this was the whole reason she chose this particular apprenticeship and to ensure she got as much practice on the job as possible.
Working for a small but incredibly successful business was very important to me and meant that I get the chance to work closely with the whole company, so that everyone gets their opinion across and knows exactly what is going on in every department. It also means that we have the ability to contact someone asking for help and getting a relatively immediate response means you are quick to learn and don’t ever feel extreme pressure to know everything all at once. Speaking to Joshua Pooley, a former apprentice, he described the working environment at Natterbox.
“From my own perspective, the work atmosphere is a real mixture, there are informalities which I personally enjoy, such as the freedom of clothing, however, there is a still a sense of professionalism. No one here is afraid for a quick chat”.
The overall vibe I got from the other apprentices, was that between staff members, there was a very friendly and sociable side to everyone, however, when it came down to business, things were very professional and things were done properly.
Ensuring you make a good impression on your new colleagues, was agreed amongst all apprentices as one of the most important things to do when starting off, especially as everyone within the team is very social both during work hours and after. This means that there is plenty of time to get to know everyone on a professional and personal level. Natterbox do this incredibly well with the constant events that they plan, including the Summer Event that was created to raise money for various charities and bringing together partners, whilst still allowing staff to enjoy themselves and get to know each other on a better level.
Speaking around and getting other apprentices opinions on their time at Natterbox helped come to the conclusion that working in the tech industry proved challenging but incredibly interesting and rewarding, as everyday something new would be learnt. Joshua adds:
“I have learnt so much more about the entire platform from how telecoms works in general, to the nightmare of number porting”
Also, discussing what goes on when the apprenticeship comes to an end, showed me that a lot of old apprentices are now full time members of staff, and have openly admitted, not much has changed, apart from their job title. In other words, there was not a massive divide between being an apprentice, compared to a regular member of staff.
Personally, I think it is very important for me to know that Natterbox treat us the same as any other employee, which goes to show they value and trust everyone to be just as involved and help gain skills that allow us to be that involved within the company. The idea of being an apprentice is just ensuring that we gain the skills that are required, that we may not have initially had.
The intimate group of apprentices make it feel less lonely when starting out, especially because we are all in the same boat and wanting the same outcome. I felt instantly welcome and had people making a lot of effort to make sure I was not feeling like a stereotypical ‘newbie’.
One final thing I asked some of the other apprentices was:
“What would be your words of wisdom to someone starting out as as an apprentice at Natterbox?”
SO: “Talk to the others and ask them questions as much as you can. You can really learn a lot from having this opportunity; remember not many young people get to work with other professionals that early on.”
JP: “I would say to ensure that you are making the most out of every single opportunity that you are given. You may never have an opportunity like this one again so not only work hard but also enjoy your time working as an apprentice and show off your unique personality.”
AH: “An opportunity like this will do wonders for your skills and confidence levels, ensure you get the most out of your experience. The only advice I could give someone would be to ensure that you appreciate the people around you. The people you speak to day to day, all have a value in your life and can teach you stuff you don’t already know. Take advantage of being surrounded by like-minded people, you will all be of use to each-other one day.”
Overall, I feel that the experience that Natterbox has given me will further add to my degree as good experience and help improve my knowledge for my final year at University. The knowledge I have gained from learning on the job and understanding of what the marketing industry entails.
If you are interested in learning more about current apprenticeship opportunities within Natterbox, please drop us an email with your CV to email@example.com and tell us a bit about yourself, your skills and hobbies, and the areas of the business that you’re interested to gain experience in. We endeavour to get back to everyone who contacts us, however due to the influx of applicants this is not always possible. We have had apprentices working with us across the business, including IT, Customer Support, Administration, Finance and Marketing. In addition to our apprentice roles, our other full-time roles can be found on our vacancies page.