National Apprenticeship Week

This week (14th March – 18th March 2016) is National Apprenticeship Week in the UK. Here at The County Group, we have a number of apprentices who work in different departments across the company.

This week we are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with our apprentices and would like to share their experiences with you. If you are thinking about taking on an apprentice or are looking for the next step after college, please keep reading.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is beneficial for both the employer and the apprentice. The apprentice is given the opportunity to learn new skills and gain invaluable work experience in a particular sector. As well as well as gaining on the job experience, they will also be earning a wage and working towards a qualification such as a Level 4 Diploma. Apprenticeships are fast becoming a favoured alternative to going to University where students can leave with limited real life work experience and substantial debt.

For the employer, apprenticeships provide the opportunity to recruit new staff whilst receiving up to 100% government funding. They are great way of injecting fresh, new ideas into the business whilst shaping a young persons’ skills and knowledge. Government stats show that 71% of apprentices stay with their current employer. This is great for employers as the apprentices often go onto be long-serving employees having learned all the skills and formalities of the business.

At County, we have a number of apprentices working for us in departments such as Marketing, HR/Operations, Admin, Accounts and Sales.

What do our apprentices have to say?

Sheena Penkeyman – Marketing Apprentice

I chose the apprenticeship route as I wanted to gain further qualifications without studying full time at University and getting into debt. Almost one year into my apprenticeship, I’ve learnt so much from my work experience which will help with my progress within the work place.

Digital Marketing is one of the newer apprenticeships and it’s a great choice for me as I’m more of a creative person.  So far, I’ve liaised with designers to create flyers, produced marketing materials, become responsible for the company’s direct marketing, write regular blogs and new content for our websites, organised charity events, created email newsletters and much more.  Currently, I’m designing and helping to produce a website for one of The County Group’s key sub-brands. Every day is different and always something to do. I’m grateful for this opportunity and being able to gain qualifications. – Sheena Penkeyman (Marketing)

I started my Digital Marketing Apprenticeship shortly after realising that University wasn’t the route I wanted to go down after all and I am so glad that happened! I only started here at The County Group just over a month ago and have loved every minute. Every day is different and you are never stuck for something to do, so far I have been involved in Direct Mail, Email Campaigns, Recommend a friend and different elements of web design.

I also work with great people which make the days a lot more enjoyable but maybe not as much as a Friday lunch time Nando’s! I have realised quite quickly that the experience I will gain here is so much more valuable than any I would receive at University, but at the same time I’m gaining a qualification at the end of it, with no debt!  – Hannah Peel (Marketing)

Hannah Peel – Marketing Apprentice

Alfie Farmer – Account Handler Apprentice

‘After leaving school I enrolled at a local college to study sport, I soon realised it wasn’t for me and I began looking for apprenticeships. Doing an apprenticeship has allowed me to gain real work life experience and earn a good wage. On a monthly basis I have a tutor who helps me work towards my qualifications by the end of my first year.

I enjoy working for such a great company and look to expand my role as time goes on. I have made good progress in the time I have been here and look to expand my knowledge within my role. I enjoy my job and the people I work with which is a big part as to why I enjoy working at JSW. Looking forward, I would like to stay at JSW and get a better understanding in different areas of insurance.’ – Alfie Farmer (Account Handler). *JSW Is a sub-brand within The County Group.

After realising that University just wasn’t for me, I still wanted to gain further education. I looked at lots of apprenticeships and this HR apprenticeship suited me the best. I love the fact I’m in a full time position whereby I have lots of roles and responsibilities yet I am also furthering my education and gaining a recognised qualification within the HR industry. By the end of my apprenticeship I have the best of both worlds – experience and qualifications.’ – Sophie Hudson (Human Resources & Operations)

Sophie Hudson – HR/ Operations Apprentice

Tara Stock – Administration Apprentice

I work in the administration department, which is where we process all the new documents that the client will send to our brokers. I enjoy what I do for many reasons, a couple being the team which I work alongside within the admin department because they are all well driven, focused and hard-working. Another being that I like being organised and thorough, which are the main qualities that are needed to fulfil this job position.

The main reason I wanted to take up an apprenticeship is because I wanted to accomplish something which I would be proud of myself for doing so. I am also thankful for the normal working hours which I couldn’t take advantage of in my previous job. I would eventually like to work my way up and set higher goals. I feel as though my overall work life is great and I am finally doing something which I can honestly say I am happy doing. An apprenticeship is definitely something I will recommend to anybody wanting to achieve something more in their career. – Tara Stock (Administration) 

I started my apprenticeship in July after realising the course I was doing at college was not for me. This has given me the chance to gain work experience and complete the theory through Babington College. I am learning fast and I am keen to progress further throughout my apprenticeship. I really enjoy doing the claims side of things at the moment and after my apprenticeship I hope to carry on working with the company and progress from there. – Jake Tryer (JSW Sales)

Jake Tyrer – Sales Apprentice

If you are interested in an apprenticeship with The County Group, we are currently have 2 vacancies for Admin Apprentices at our office in Southport. Please click here to find out more.

However, we are always interested to hear from talented enthusiastic people who show a little initiative. Please feel free to send a speculative CV and covering letter to Kat Taylor: katt@countyins.com explaining your skills and future aspirations and we’ll be in touch if anything suitable comes up.