What do you do within the organisation?
At Cornwall Wildlife Trust, I was the Marine Conservation Apprentice and supported the Marine Team with a variety of Marine projects, including Seaquest Southwest, Shoresearch Cornwall, The Marine Strandings Network and The Your Shore Network. This involved carrying out general administration tasks, creating social media posts, writing blogs and supporting the team in planning and delivering different events/activities.
What department/team are you working with?
The Marine Team.
What is the purpose of your role and how does it assist with the company’s mission?
The purpose of my role was to assist the marine team with general day-to-day tasks and jobs that they don’t always have the capacity to do.
Why this particular apprenticeship?
Before my Apprenticeship, I volunteered on Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Nature Reserve Looe Island throughout the summer of 2021. This was where I was lucky enough to meet the Marine Team and join in with some of their annual survey work when they visited the Nature Reserve. My experience on the island made me realise that a career in the conservation sector might be an option for me. Working with and listening to the marine team talk about their jobs and their passion for the marine environment also made me eager to pursue it myself as I always had a keen interest in it growing up in Cornwall. The Apprenticeship side of things also provided me with extremely useful transferrable skills that I was looking for after completing my degree and struggling to get into a simple entry-level/graduate job. Being the Business administrator qualification, allows you to delve into the world of business, looking at different topics based around the employee you work for, whilst enhancing other skills along the way, such as IT and communication skills.
What were you looking to achieve from this Apprenticeship?
I was looking to become more confident in myself and wanted to be more aware of what I could achieve after completing my degree during Covid. Once I had completed my degree, I knew I still wanted to do something educational, however, I personally needed a break from university and so a Masters or PGCE was not an option yet. Once I saw this position advertised, I knew I had to go for it, I knew a mix of working and studying would really benefit me. It really provides you with so many useful skills, whilst completing a qualification and getting paid!
What were your initial thoughts and expectations?
My initial thoughts were that this Apprenticeship would possibly be a step back for me as I’d not long completed my BSc degree. However, the Apprenticeship application really appealed to me during the end of my volunteering position on Looe Island because it would enable me to achieve the qualification in business management, gaining fundamental transferrable skills for a future career in almost any sector whilst being able to work part-time with Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Marine Team on several of their conservation projects. It was something I really wanted to be part of.
Which elements of your Apprenticeship do you feel you have learnt most?
Having never studied business at school or university, I really learnt a lot about business and its key fundamental principles. From learning more and being able to really understand my employer, to exploring external and internal factors impacting an organisation and relevant laws and regulations that underpin a business. It has been extremely interesting, and I still use a lot of it today.
What do you feel you have gained from the Apprenticeship?
I have gained core transferrable skills such as strong analytical and problem-solving skills, report and essay writing skills, improved interpersonal and communication skills and some project management skills.
Would you recommend Apprenticeships? If so, why?
I would recommend this Apprenticeship because it is well delivered by your tutor who enables you to choose the best way you like to learn, the pace of delivery is also well planned and depending on your progress, you get plenty of time to complete assignments as they understand the many work/life commitments you face. The skills you gain from the Apprenticeship are extremely useful and will help you stand out in future job applications; this is also supported by CMN Training offers some amazing training opportunities for anything you want to gain experience in. For me, I did an Excel intermediate course as data entry and sorting were a key part of my Apprenticeship and something I knew could be useful in my career progression. The assessment side of things was also extremely well planned and explained, and you have a lot of control over when you take your assessments. I completed my course assignments on time, leaving me plenty of time to complete my project plan to a level I was happy with. This then enabled me to take time to add to my portfolio evidence to ensure I covered all of the assessment criteria. At this point, I was also beginning to think of my steps after my Apprenticeship and began applying to other external positions as my contract was nearing an end, where I was successful in an application for joining the Environment Agencies Hydrology team. Luckily for me, my tutor and the marine team were very supportive, and I was able to continue to plan and prepare for my end-point assessment after starting my new role, which I ended up completing and passing within a few months. This only adds to the positives of this opportunity and is why I would recommend the Apprenticeship to anyone who is interested, the skills and experience you gain helps you to stand out in applications and you are supported beyond your contracted time.
Have you enjoyed it?
I really enjoyed my Apprenticeship – don’t get me wrong it was a lot of work, particularly managing your own time and keeping on track with the apprenticeship work as well as working part-time for Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Being an apprentice entails a lot of work beyond the job role, and I often found myself extremely busy with multiple tasks to carry out during the week. However, I knew that in the long run, this would benefit my career prospects and provide me with useful skills to move up in my career.
Are there any standout achievements?
Some standout achievements for me included being able to assist the Marine Team in organising some of their annual events, including the Marine Recorders Evening, The Your Shore Conference and National Marine Week. This provided me with great confidence to help lead the planning of any future events within any future job roles and at the time, made me even more proud to be supporting the Wildlife Trust and helping to spread the word about the amazing work they do.
What are your plans post-Apprenticeship?
My plan post-Apprenticeship was to apply for jobs in the conservation/environmental sector where I could use the skills gained from my Geography Degree and my apprenticeship. I am happy to say I was successful in some of my applications and have now moved on to being a Hydrology Technical Officer in the Environment Agencies Hydrology team.
Has this Apprenticeship helped you on your career path?
My Apprenticeship has helped me in my career path because it has provided me with further transferrable skills and experience in a sector I hope to progress further into during my career.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about Apprenticeships, what would it be?
Give it a go! Everything is worth that application and your shot at doing well – university isn’t for everyone, and Apprenticeships are a great way to gain a qualification whilst working with an organisation that appeals to you.
If you could go back and give one piece of advice to yourself before embarking on your Apprenticeship journey, what would it be?
Consider an Apprenticeship, they are extremely worthwhile and beneficial to anyone looking to progress into almost any career. This Apprenticeship has provided me with suitable skills for my current job and helped me to develop my skills even further after my degree. I got to work with experienced staff, take part in events, learn new things, and complete a qualification at the same time as having the best time with an amazing team of people.