Top tips for starting an apprenticeship

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New research released this week has shown that 56% of existing university students would like to do an apprenticeship. With A-Level results out this Thursday AAT apprentice, Farzad Khodkameh, offers his tops tips for students thinking of shunning university

I started work at AAT as a ‘Business’ Apprentice almost a year ago.

It’s been quite a journey and I’ve gained so much I’m not quite sure where to start. I’ve worked in nine departments and had a lot of first-hand experience. As this is my first job, I‘ve never had this sort of opportunity before.

What I would like to have known before my apprenticeship

One thing I get asked from time to time is what questions I would have liked answered before I started my apprenticeship. Having reflected on this, I think it would have been useful to have had a clearer idea about which departments or areas of the business I would like to concentrate on.

Before starting my apprenticeship I was relatively clueless as to what sort of career I was looking for.  I had my sights on a career in marketing, but that was only because I had done qualifications that linked to marketing quite heavily compared to any other areas in business.

Fortunately, I’ve been given the opportunity to work in a variety of departments and this has helped me narrow down what I’m interested in, as well as which roles my skill set might suit best.

Learn more about the company before starting an apprenticeship

Another area that might have been useful to have had some knowledge of would be the internal structure of the company. I now have a very good idea about how each segment of the business works together (for example, the relationship between the sales team and membership support).

However, when I started I only had a very basic knowledge of the different departments and their roles. A better grasp of how these parts fitted together and the management structure within each team would have helped me to get to grips with my own tasks and roles a little faster.

I feel that the most important part of my apprenticeship is to gain experience and build my skills, while developing a sound understanding of the company. I believe that although a little more knowledge of some aspects of the business may have been beneficial, they haven’t negatively impacted my time here.

Developing my knowledge of AAT has shown me how little I knew coming in, but learning this is simply part of the apprenticeship process.

My top tips for starting an apprenticeship

Here are my top tips for anyone starting an apprenticeship:

  • always take as much advice as you can from those who offer it. I’ve spoken to many of my colleagues and it has certainly supported me in some of the decisions I have had to make
  • don’t be afraid to ask questions. It will help you to understand the company a lot quicker and will show you have an interest in the business
  • get involved with as many things as you can such as events, meetings or anything you think will be beneficial and might better your knowledge. Always ask for more and never shy down from any challenges.

You can learn more about Higher Apprenticeships on the AAT website.  AAT held an apprenticeships Twitter Q&A in July to help prospective students take the next step in their career.

Farzad Khodkameh is a CRM Support Analyst at AAT.

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