National Apprenticeship Week 2018
Meet Emma Storey, HR & Business Support Manager, B-Skill
In light of National Apprenticeship Week, we are promoting why ‘Apprenticeships work’… And what better way to do that than to celebrate the success of one of our own. Emma started working at B-Skill as an Apprentice after finishing school in 2008… 10 years later, Emma brings her vibrant and enthusiastic personality to the office everyday as HR & Business Support Manager. We asked Emma to share her story to support why Apprenticeships work…
Why did you decide to become an Apprentice?
After I left College in 2008, it was my intention to study at University and I had successfully secured a place at Northumbria to study PR and Communications. I was initially excited at the prospect of going to University and living the ‘University Lifestyle’ but I started to have doubts about the course I had chosen and my commitment to studying. After a few weeks of soul searching, I decided that I was going to reject my place and look for a job – much to my parent’s surprise. I had always been interested in working in an office, my father has always had his own business and when we were growing up we used to go to work with him and I loved the business environment. After searching on the internet for office jobs, I came across a Business Administration Apprenticeship… In all honesty, I didn’t really know much about Apprenticeships as both my High School and College didn’t really promote them. I applied for the position and met with the Training Provider who explained what the Apprenticeship programme was and I was offered an interview for a position at B-Skill in Newcastle. Going for my first real interview was very nerve-wracking, but I was successful and was offered the position to start in the August 2008… I have never looked back!
What did you find most challenging and rewarding?
I felt the most challenging thing was when I first started my Apprenticeship, I was anxious about starting my new role in an established organization, but as soon as I started I was made to feel a part of the team and I was provided with the best possible training, development and guidance in order for me to be successful in my Apprenticeship.
The most rewarding part of my Apprenticeship was when I completed my first year and B-Skill asked me to be a permanent member of staff… All my hard work had really paid off!
What happened after completing your Apprenticeship? What were your next steps?
Following the completion of my Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship, I was offered a permanent position at B-Skill. I then completed my Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship. At the time I was carrying out an administration support role for both the HR department and the Quality department. B-Skill asked me what area of the business I most enjoyed and where I could see my career develop within the organization… I chose HR as I really enjoyed the variety of the role. B-Skill then supported me with further training & development and I went on to complete my CIPD Level 3 qualification progressing to my CIPD Level 5 qualification. I will be enrolling onto my CIPD Level 7 qualification in September which I am looking forward to.
In respect of internal promotions within the organisation I have successfully progressed up the career ladder. I started as an Business Administration Apprentice before receiving my first promotion to HR & Quality Assistant then to HR Officer. From here, I moved on to HR Specialist and in January 2015, I was promoted to HR Manager. This was a huge achievement for me as I was the youngest manager to sit on the Management Team. This demonstrated the belief and confidence that B-Skill had in me and my ability.
My role has recently changed and I am now HR & Business Support Manager. I now have responsibility of managing a team of people which I am really enjoying. I have always had supportive managers who have supported me through my career progression and I have always wanted to do the same for others.
What advice would you give to someone considering an Apprenticeship?
Do it! I know the saying an Apprenticeship allows you to ‘earn while you learn’ is a bit of a cliché, but what is better than that is you get real life experience working for an organisation whilst still being able to develop yourself in respect of qualifications. Getting your foot in the door of an organisation is the hardest part of looking for a job, but the Apprenticeship route supports you and gives you a career advantage. My career started at B-Skill back in 2008, and I will be celebrating my 10 year anniversary with B-Skill this August. I am living proof that Apprenticeships do work, and if you get the right Apprenticeship opportunity, it will offer you an excellent pathway into employment.