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Tamara’s Apprenticeship Story

When I left school at 16 I didn’t even know apprenticeships existed.

21 March 2017

Tamara’s Story

Tamaras apprenticeship Story

I left school with just two GCSE’s and now I earn £25k.

At school they drum it into you that GCSE’s are everything. A few days after getting my results and seeing how upset my mum was it sank in. I became really worried I’d failed life at 16.

All I knew then was that I wanted to work and didn’t want to go to college. However, my mum wouldn’t let me. She said I needed qualifications and college was only option. At this point neither of us knew apprenticeships even existed.

So I did a personality and career test

After a lot of soul searching that summer, trying to avoid college and work out what I was going to do with my life, I did a career based personality test. Looking back, it was one of the best things I did. It told me what careers and jobs would suit my personality, but whilst my mum agreed with the results she wouldn’t budge on college and so I started that September and I hated it.

After just two weeks at college an apprenticeship training provider contacted me and told me all about apprenticeships for the first time. He explained that an apprenticeship was a real job, earning money whilst also training and doing qualifications at the same time.

It took me 1.5 years to be earning 20k salary

I thought OK! This is something I can pitch to my mum. She agreed I could do an apprenticeship but only if I promised to get qualifications up to degree level. That was our deal.

Three weeks later I’d left college and started my first apprenticeship recruitment role. It wasn’t plain sailing as that role didn’t work out. The training provider found me another apprentice recruitment role working for a corporate recruitment company. That was three years ago now.

Most people don’t understand that the first year is literally like a trampoline

I was taking home £750 per month which was actually alright as I lived with my mum but I didn’t really like being in the corporate environment. After three months I quit and at this stage, I had a bit of crisis as I thought recruitment wasn’t for me.

However, I had 3 months recruitment experience under my belt and my next apprentice recruitment role was for a company that helped young people like me, find jobs and apprenticeships. I was in charge of screening the applications. When I had a job with a specific GCSE requirement and a candidate that didn’t meet the GCSE requirements, I didn’t automatically reject them. I talked to them instead and was able to use my passion for that person to get them an interview. I was there for a year and was introduced to some really inspiring people and blue chip corporates but unfortunately the company went bust.

By the time I was seventeen I was earning £15k and helping ex offenders get jobs and apprenticeships. By this stage, I had decided that apprenticeships were brilliant and I was well suited to working in recruitment that helped people like me.

Most people don’t understand that the first year of an apprenticeship is literally like a trampoline, you jump on it and you can fly as high as you want. Apprenticeships are a way for anybody to get a head start into a good career.

I now earn the national average wage

I would also highly recommend an apprenticeship for a young lady or man that might be hanging out with the wrong crowd. You spend 30-40 hours a week with people outside of your peer group and looking back this was a major benefit for me. Being an apprentice also has financial benefits as you get student discount, 1/3 off travel and cheaper insurance.

Most people I talk to assume that apprenticeships are really poorly paid but in my experience they aren’t for long.  After just 9-12 months you get your first pay review so it only took me 1.5 years to be earning 20k salary, which was the point I felt like I was earning decent money. I now earn the national average wage now and I’ll be twenty this year.

I truly believe that apprenticeships have made me the person I am now and I can’t recommend them enough.  I’ve learnt so much from working and it’s also really helped my speech. Even though I’ve only got two GCSE’s, I will complete my Business Administration Level 3 in a few weeks which is the equivalent of A-levels.

By the time I am twenty four I will have eight years of work experience on my CV, qualifications equivalent to a degree and no debt. And I will have kept the promise I made to my Mum.

Tamaras apprenticeship Story

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