In 2016 Charlie became an On Site Bristol Electrical Apprentice with Bristol City Council Responsive Repairs Team. Charlie is now a fully qualified Electrician and has secured a permanent position. We caught up with Charlie to ask her about her Apprenticeship journey.
What Apprenticeship are you studying?
Electrical Installation Apprenticeship Level 3
What made you choose this apprenticeship?
When I was in Year 11, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had applied for a Beauty course at a local college, mainly because that’s what all the other girls in my class were doing. However, at the college interview, I just knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do! Then just before I took my GCSE’s, On Site Bristol visited my school to talk about construction careers – I got talking to them and it got me thinking about jobs in construction. They told me about other girls that had taken up this career and how well they were doing. This was never a career choice I had thought about before, but I felt like it was the right thing. I applied that evening to On Site Bristol.
What was your apprenticeship journey like?
It was brilliant, I took the tests and assessment for On Site and passed these, and then set about trying to find an employer. I was very lucky that On Site put me forward for a position at Bristol City Council. I started with the Responsive Repairs team in the September after I left school and I loved it from day one – all the team were brilliant, helpful and took the time to explain and show me tasks. I wrote a load of notes and took lots of photos...It was a lot to take in but everyone was very patient and supportive.
Having a dedicated Training Officer from On Site was amazing, my Training Officer visited me every 8 weeks but was always there on the phone if I needed help.
What challenges did you face during your apprenticeship?
It was hard at first to adapt to working life straight from school, but I just powered through it. I enjoyed the work and was happy so that helped.
It was quite stressful managing the demands of work and college, I’m also a Carer for my dad so I don’t have a lot of spare time. I kept on top of everything though and did college work as soon as it was set and made sure I used any evidence I could in the workplace straight away for my NVQ.
Covid was also obviously a massive challenge – I was due to complete in 2020 but the impact of Covid was massive and did delay me completing my NVQ Portfolio and then the final AM2 Assessment.
What life skills did your apprenticeship teach you?
Getting up early! It also helped me be organised and ensure I was always on time. I’ve learned the importance of working in a team, listening to instructions and how to be a reliable team member. I love chatting anyway but it has helped me with my communication skills and I now have the confidence to talk with anyone!
So what have you done since completing your apprenticeship and what’s next?
I qualified in 2021 and was lucky enough to secure a permanent role with the Responsive Repairs team. I’m currently working on Laundrys at the moment which is great and very busy.
I would like to get further qualifications in the industry and am planning to undertake a Testings and Inspections qualification. Other than that I don’t have any fixed plan for the future – I'm enjoying what I do now! Maybe one day move into Lighting Design or move into a supervisory role here at the council or maybe even start my own business!! I’m not sure but am grateful that I have the qualification and experience I do, which means I have a variety of choices.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship?
Yes absolutely, you earn money whilst learning and getting qualified - what’s not to like?? I’ve managed to get a good qualification without getting into any debt. I’m only 21 now and making good progress towards saving for my first house!