We sat down with Learning Development Officer at Asset Training Poppy Wolfarth, to discuss how the traditional academic route wasn’t for her. And how an apprenticeship was much better suited to her hands on approach to learning and development.
What Does Your Day to Day Role Involve?
I work currently as an Account Management Lead. I lead on public sector, and some private sector, Apprenticeship Levy Accounts. This includes day to running of contracts, strategic planning for the year ahead and supporting them to meet targets of staff on apprenticeships. I also manage and am responsible for the engagement officers who are responsible for all enrolments onto apprenticeships.
How Did You Find Out About Apprenticeships?
In high school I struggled with dyslexia and didn’t like the academic route. And I found the “more hands on” side of things I was good at rather than sitting down writing essays. So when a friend of a friend said about Asset Training and apprenticeships that turned on a light. And the first apprenticeship I applied for with Asset I actually got!
Did You Always Plan to Do An Apprenticeship?
When I was setting off on my apprenticeship I didn’t actually know what I wanted to do, and that was a big issue for me. But then once a had fallen into the business environment, and the strategicness of that, I learned to love it. Understanding how a business works inside out, I loved it, so I was able to pick modules that suited that. So I was doing professional discussions rather than doing essays on reflective accounts, and I was being observed in the workplace instead of having to do a dissertation. So it was really cool to be able to decide how I was going to learn rather than being told how I was going to do it.
How have Apprenticeships Benefited You?
One of my dreams has always been to own my own house. I grew up with a family who relied on housing benefits and things like that. So one of my goals from a young age was always to be in a steady job, be able to pay my way, and save to afford a house. And at the moment I am going through the process of buying my own property at the age of 22. It was something I never thought I would be able to do.
What do You Think are the Advantages of an Apprenticeship over University?
If it wasn’t for my apprenticeship and being able to earn while I was learning, and having the steady progression to where I am now, I would never have been able to do that. If I went to sixth form and university, I would only just be coming out of university this year. Whereas I’ve already been working 6 years, and I have come so much further than my friends have. They have £50,000 worth of debt and I am debt free and have been able to save this money and buy my own house.
Would You Recommend an Apprenticeship as a Career Starting Point?
I think my apprenticeships have helped me be where I am today. Without my apprenticeship and Asset Training I would never have been even employed, possibly. I would not have had a career, just a job for the sake of having a job. I love the fact I have got a career, and that I am still progressing in that career.
A lot of employers want a qualification with experience, and the only way to really get that these days is with an apprenticeship. Its an all rounder really. You get your salary, you get your experience, and you get your qualification. Those qualifications will stay with you for life, but those experiences will too.