Whether she’s running a client through an upcoming interview or giving their CV a spruce,IAG Level 4 apprentice, Emily, knows the impact she can have on the people she advises. She recently won our Learner of the Month award for her outstanding work during her time with us.
Congratulations on winning our Learner of the Month award, Emily!
Tell us a bit more about yourself.
I’m a Community Employment Mentor.
I give people 1:1 support and help them go into employment, education, or training. I’ve been doing that for about 14 months now so still relatively new, and I’ve been studying the apprenticeship alongside it.
What apprenticeship did you take with us?
Level 4 Advice and Guidance. It was my first apprenticeship, and it lasted about 18 months.
And how are you finding it?
I do enjoy it. I’m just about finished now so it’ll be a little bit of a weight lifted. It’s challenging me and helping me develop really. I haven’t done any qualifications since I finished uni in 2016 so it was just getting my brain working again! I thought it was going to be worse than it actually was – it was a bit of a shock to the system to begin with.
Was the apprenticeship advertised with your job role or did you know anything about it?
I didn’t know much – I had an induction with my manager, and I know a few of my team members have done the apprenticeship aswell.
My role as an Employment Mentor is giving people advice and guidance, so because I was new to the role, it really helped me, especially studying it alongside my work.
And has it improved how you do your job? Can you see the parallels between the apprenticeship and your day-to-day work?
It’s the same kind of thing really, like managing caseloads and working with networks. As I was learning the role, I was writing it down at the same time, so the parallels are there. It’s doing exactly the same work but writing it all down!
We have a caseload of clients and new clients are coming in all the time. They might not have been in work for a while, or they might have something they want advice on like getting back into education. We give them that advice and we support them at the same time so I might sit with them and help them apply for a role or help them with their CV.
That must be a really rewarding role.
It is rewarding. I worked as triage before in the same project but that was more on the admin side of it, so it’s more rewarding really because I’m helping them now, helping them get into work and making their life better really.
Let’s talk about your Training Advisor, Jane…
Jane’s amazing. She knows I’ve got a busy caseload and I’ve got a little boy at home. If I needed to reschedule an appointment because I wouldn’t finish work in time or if I needed a last-minute appointment for some advice on some work, she was always there for a phone call or a Teams meeting.
We’ve been speaking to a few learners recently who have said it can be hard to balance work, family, and a qualification…
It can be, yeah. My manager Debbie has been really good to help me organise my time. I find it easier doing it after I’ve put my little one to bed. I do get it done but it’s normally last-minute. But she has been really supportive.
And you’ve been learning with others in your team?
A few of us started at the same time and there are about three or four of us who are doing the qualification now. It’s nice to have that too because we can go to each other for advice.
How did your employer support you?
We’d have 1:1s so she’d ask me if there was anything she could support with, and she’d look over my work for me. If we needed a testimony, she’d always get them back in time so just being that support really, making sure I can handle my caseload as well as doing the apprenticeship.
What motivates you to learn?
Developing myself for the future. I’d like to develop within my role, I’d like to progress. Having that qualification behind me opens doors for me too.
It’s also helped me with my writing skills.
Do you think taking an apprenticeship has changed your life?
It has improved my confidence because I was new to the role. I was learning things that I did need to know, like legislation, and it helped me to support clients and provide that advice.
What advice would you give to people thinking of taking up an apprenticeship?
It’s definitely worth it – it might be a bit overwhelming to begin with, but you’ll get used to it. It’s just taking that first step, but I would definitely advise people to do it.
Where will we see you in 10 years?
Hopefully developed within RCT – I’d like to reach management level.
We’re sure you’ll get there, Emily!