For many students, apprenticeships can be the perfect way to improve their skills and enhance their career prospects at the same time as holding down a job.

Designed to be delivered flexibly, apprenticeships can even move with you if you change jobs, enabling you to continue with your studies as you progress up the career ladder.

In many cases, the right apprenticeship can absolutely transform your career, opening up fresh opportunities and providing a way of learning that suits your lifestyle. Such was the case for Jemma Godwin, a 25-year-old graduate from Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent, who took advantage of an apprenticeship progression programme as an apprentice at Keele University.

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Looking for a graduate opportunity

Jemma did well in her A-levels: taking Psychology, Sociology, Biology and Chemistry, she achieved the grades necessary to attend university. This lead her to take up a place at Chester University, where she obtained a 2:1 in Psychology and Sociology. Her initial thoughts were to train as a teacher, as she had always had an interest in working in the educational sector in some way. Although she initially started a Post-Compulsory Education and Training PCET course at Nottingham Trent University. Seeking more life and work experience she decided to take some time out to consider her options, initially finding work in the retail sector.

A people person!

Working in a customer facing environment for retailers which included Clinton Cards, TK Maxx and Boots, she discovered a passion for working with people, but still yearned to return to the education sector. As she said, “I’m good with people and liked retail but feel far more comfortable with Education”. The desire to return to the Education sector, coupled with a talent for administration and office-based work, led her to apply for one of the business administration apprenticeships available at Keele University.

An apprenticeship: "It naturally felt like the next step!"

In Jemma's own words, "It was the best interview I’ve been on. It naturally felt like the next step as I needed more life skills. My degree prepared me for academia but not the workplace. In Sept 2018 I started as an apprentice at Keele University in the School of Pharmacy doing a Level 2 In Business Administration."

Delivered by PM Training, the apprenticeship has allowed her to acquire the skills she needs for the workplace, at the same time as providing her with the support needed to succeed. 

A progression towards full-time employment

After four months at Keele as an apprentice, Jemma was able to obtain a part-time fixed term contract at the University as an Administrative Assistant, dealing with student queries, monitoring absence and related tasks. Her plan now is to progress towards a permanent full-time position working within different areas of administration.

By upskilling staff, an apprenticeship is a great way of boosting skills in the workplace. As Jemma says, "I feel proud to be in this position. I’ve been to apprentice network events at Keele and have been able to try out different roles and work in different departments. My apprenticeship with PM Training has really helped me to explore different elements of the workplace."

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