As part of our National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) coverage, we spoke with colleagues Casey and Rebecca, who have both recently undertaken a CIPD Level 5 Qualification.
Apprenticeships can be completed by anybody, and at Essex are offered from levels three through seven, covering fifty-nine different courses.
In the following short conversations, Casey and Rebecca will detail aspects about their apprenticeship experiences which we found particularly useful:
What made you undertake the apprenticeship at the time you did?
Casey: “I had been interested in developing my wider HR knowledge for a while, to support with both my current role and future career development. When the opportunity came up for me to complete my CIPD Level 5 through ECC, I jumped at the chance. I was lucky enough to join a cohort with colleagues within the same team, so it allowed us to have a great support network throughout the entire study period.”
Rebecca: “I’d been working in Recruitment for over 10 years and after joining Essex in 2019 I was able to gain more exposure within the wider HR function. As a result I wanted to build on my knowledge of HR practices.”
“When the opportunity came… I jumped at the chance.”Casey
What benefits have you seen from the experience?
Casey: “The course was great! We covered so many elements of HR from data and its evolution to recruitment, retention, and learning and development. Completing the course has allowed me to gain a well-rounded knowledge of HR, not just recruitment. Because of this, I have been able to provide valuable, comprehensive guidance in meetings with stakeholders. It has also helped me with my career development and since completing the course, I have been lucky enough to have multiple career progression opportunities.”
Rebecca: “I’ve enjoyed learning and studying again. Completing the qualification and gaining new knowledge increased my confidence which led me to applying for a secondment opportunity. The tools I learnt during my studies actually really benefited me in my new role so I felt that I was able to put all my learning immediately into practice.”
How did you manage work and study around each other?
Casey: “I’ll admit, initially I found it tough to balance work and study. My first assignment was written late at night, after work and at weekends, but I quickly realised that this wasn’t sustainable, and I needed to make some changes. I then made sure I used the 20% off the job training time for both research and completing my coursework which helped me maintain a much better work/study and work/life balance throughout the rest of the course. As I mentioned, a few of us started at the same time, and that support network was invaluable for sharing resources and as a sounding board. “
Rebecca: “Starting the course during the pandemic did mean that working, studying and home-schooling my son was challenging at times! However, as part of the apprenticeship we had 20% off the job training which meant that I was able to use a percentage of my normal working hours to complete training and not all in my own time. I was also lucky enough to start my qualification with a cohort of colleagues within ECC who acted as a support network. It helped that my studies were related to my job role so it always felt useful and applicable.”
“I was lucky enough to start my qualification with a cohort of colleagues within ECC, who acted as a support network.”Rebecca
Convinced yet? You can apply for apprenticeship opportunities with ECC on our apply page.
Want to learn more? We have a huge variety of award-winning entry pathways provided by our Entry to Work team.