I stayed with South Essex College and that helped me progress even more through the apprenticeship.
Ellie Mason (apprentice)
My name is Ellie mason, I am 19 and I studied Legal Secretary Level 2-3 at South Essex College.
Two weeks after my studies finished at the College I was offered a job. I had been looking online and HW Wood was advertising so I went for it. I got the job which was absolutely great plus as my position was an apprentice, I stayed with South Essex College and that helped me progress even more through the apprenticeship. I ended up getting my Business Administration qualification which looks great on my CV.
My apprenticeship means that I learn while I am on the job. You have directors and colleagues who help you along the way but you also liaise with a tutor from the College. My tutor was called Heidi and she was amazing. We had a set path to do and had to work our way through various units. Heidi held classes in Basildon once a week so I would work for four days and go to College for one day. My company allowed me to do my College work along with my duties.
HW Wood are an insurance brokers based in London. I work on reception and we have a lot of brokers who deal with lots of different types of insurance such as motor, marine and especially fine art. I get to help them and find out what they are doing and how they work. It is really interesting as you get to see all the different aspects of insurance and deal with brokers, underwriters and clients.
I am starting a new job next week with a law firm Called Grosvenor Law based in the West End where I will get to progress and use my legal secretary skills.
I would advise any young person who was thinking of taking on apprenticeship to go for it. I just wanted a job with good pay and I have found that the apprenticeship was definitely the way to go. I learnt so much, it has increased my confidence because I was really shy and nervous at the start and I have come away with another qualification. Before I came to HW Wood I wouldn’t even answer the phone to Pizza Hut if they called and my director Jean and tutor Heidi have helped me to transform in to a confident person who is able to talk to anyone.
All I have ever wanted from life is to be content and happy and I have been very happy, here, on my apprenticeship and am now looking forward to a bright future.
Jean Summers (director at HW Wood)
My name is Jean Summers, I am a director at HW Wood, a Lloyd’s broker based in the City. We deal with a number of classes of insurance and were looking for a new receptionist. I was advised that I should consider an apprentice as they want to work which was something new and different for us.
I contacted South Essex College and was given a number of CVs to look at. I interviewed all the girls to see who had the right attitude and most of them were great because they wanted to work and you look for someone who has enthusiasm to work on reception. I chose Ellie because she just had that spark. Unfortunately she had to do her maths again but I advised her that redoing it would stand her in good stead for the future and she did it! She took to reception like a duck to water and has worked in other departments as well. This is the first time we have taken on an apprentice and although we have taken on juniors before, an apprenticeship is more structured which is better for me as it is easier to keep track of things.
First and foremost Ellie is an employee. She had to go to College one day a week for 12 weeks to do her NVQ and bring her maths up to speed , then Heidi Bevan , her tutor would come in once a month.
Heidi was brilliant, she got Ellie through her NVQ and offered all sorts of encouragement. She would set Ellie work to do throughout the following month which we allowed her to do during the quiet periods on reception.
The advantages of taking on apprentice are that you have someone who is raw. As long as they have the right attitude and want to work you can do anything with them because they want to learn and you can mould them to how you want them and they assimilate the culture of your company and become your best ambassadors.
Following on from last year’s success we are taking on three apprentices and I want to keep bringing more young people in as it seems a crying shame that there are youngsters out there wanting to work with nowhere to go. In an apprenticeship we are not paying much in real terms but they do a marvellous job while learning skills and hopefully growing their confidence to ensure that they are fully prepared for the rest of their working life.