As apprenticeship programmes are an essential part of APM’s approach to enabling better lives, the best way to talk about the benefits of such experience, both for personal development and to gain career progression, is to see it through the perspective of someone who’s path to doing what he loves has been paved by an apprenticeship.
Johnathan Skelley, our Work and Health Business Manager and easily one of the brightest personalities here at APM, fast-tracked his career to a managerial position through securing an apprenticeship opportunity while already working at APM.
John started his professional career as a receptionist in a high street recruitment agency and despite being quickly promoted through the ranks, he felt that he wanted to have a greater impact by helping people who were less fortunate.
When asked what mattered most to him when choosing a his career pathway his reply was swift and confident ‘helping people’. This perfectly illustrates how APM’s company values are in line with Jon’s personal ones. Jon spoke about the unique feeling of gratification he gets when seeing people’s lives change for the better when they secure employment, knowing their life and often that of their family’s will become that much better.
Apprenticeships are commonly thought of as an option that comes at the beginning of a career path and not as a career advancement. Jon’s experience, however, is exemplary of how an apprenticeship can be used to gain knowledge and qualifications in your current role in order to strengthen your skillset and to grow professionally.
Using his initiative and ambition to progress his career and to take control over his professional development, Jon completed an ERS Level 4 Apprenticeship while working at APM as a Business Manager. This enabled him to progress to a Area Manager.
In his words, ‘The main advantage of apprenticeship programmes is that they give people the opportunity to grow a career whilst earning an income as not everyone wants to go to college and university’.
Jon was able to complete a lot of his apprenticeship work through a Dictaphone, meaning he didn’t have to do lots of paperwork and assignments, giving him the space to complete his day job as well as his apprenticeship.
Looking back at his apprenticeship experience Jon feels that the programme has changed his life in a tangible and positive way.
‘My Apprenticeship has put me in a good position internally and externally if promotion opportunities come up as my future career goal is to become a member of Senior Management.’
If he was starting his career again, Jon said wouldn’t do anything differently as he sees the value in the diversity of his experience. He looks at the variety of roles he’s worked in throughout his career as building up and complementing each other, contributing to his fuller understanding of business as a whole.
The advice he would offer to a young person on the verge of choosing a career path is harmonious with this mindset – ‘Think about your hobbies and interests and try and match things you like doing to a chosen career. Each role you have will all provide great experience, both good and bad, to aid your progression to where you want to be’. Jon’s advice to anyone unsure about starting an apprenticeship is ‘You have nothing to lose and everything to gain plus it is a great way to earn money while learning’.