Apprenticeship stories: Chloe White and Laura Rossi
Current and former apprentices at New College Swindon share their stories:
Chloe White - digital marketing
Chloe is a digital marketing apprentice at New College Swindon, and in the following video she shares her experience of her apprenticeship:
Laura Rossi - marketing officer
Former apprentice Laura shares a reflective account of her life in lockdown:
Hello! My name’s Laura, I’m currently the Marketing Officer – Events at New College Swindon, where I joined 4 years ago as their marketing apprentice.
I am also a Young Apprentice Ambassador for the South West Young Apprentice Ambassador Network and support with their marketing. Usually in my role as a YAA, I would attend careers fairs and school events, sharing my apprentice story and inspiring the next generation of apprentices. Though we haven’t been able to attend physical events, there have been various webinars run by the network, and we have also recorded videos of our apprenticeship stories to send to schools.
Reflecting on the months of virtual working and social distancing, it has certainly had its challenges; though it’s fair to say there have been a fair few triumphs too!
I feel lucky that I’ve been given the opportunity to carry on working from home. Prior to the first lockdown announcement, the college had already been preparing contingency plans for the transition to remote learning/working. We completed a trial day, to make sure everyone was comfortable using the equipment and software. Most of my day-to-day tasks are completed digitally anyway, so I haven’t had any problems with working remotely.
The biggest challenges have been the lack of social contact and the uncertainty of it all. In the office, I would usually interact with many people from all different departments across the college. It’s been great to see that everyone is still working collaboratively and supporting each other from home. I really appreciate that my line manager and head of marketing have tried to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible, ensuring we still have a routine to follow and don’t feel isolated at all. We have regular team meetings and my line manager encourages us to call if we’re struggling which really helps mentally; being able to have that ‘face-to-face’ conversation, despite it being via a webcam. We’ve also had to adapt our marketing material and content, particularly for the courses for adults, since there is a stronger focus on distance learning and achieving a qualification at home.
Working from home has its benefits; it means that I get an extra couple of hours every day, where I would usually be travelling to and from work and I have been able to complete additional training, requesting recordings of online sessions and watching at a time that suits me.
I’m trying to stay positive and have been using the extra time to do things that I’ve always wanted to do, but never find the time for. I love gaining new skills and knowledge and consider myself to be a ‘lifelong learner’ – there will always be more to explore and I enjoy the sense of fulfilment that comes with it. Since the first lockdown, I have completed an Advice and Guidance qualification with the college, as well as learning new skills such as how to run a virtual event.
Though I am no longer an apprentice, the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network (YAAN) have been fantastically supportive! They understand that not everyone works in a big team, or has the opportunity to speak with colleagues throughout the day, so they set up a series of ‘Tea break Talks’ for the YAAN to connect with each other. They have also been sending newsletters with Top Tips, recommendations, isolation activities, useful links and advice on how to cope with the current situation.
I do feel like I have a lot of things to be thankful for. Particularly at this time; a great support network of friends, colleagues and family and a job that I am able to do from home! Though it is unclear when things will return to ‘normal’, I am learning to appreciate other things and make the most of what I have. I hope that everyone else is able to do the same and continue to support each other in these uncertain times.