My Apprenticeship Story by Katie Taylor

Hybrid working, dog loving and student debt free

From early on, I was pretty set on doing an apprenticeship as opposed to going to university, because I knew I wanted to get a job and reap the benefits that come along with being employed, like gaining industry experience and earning a salary. I was also eager to gain a qualification whilst working, so an apprenticeship had always been the perfect fit for me. 

I am studying for a Level 4 higher apprenticeship in Sales and Marketing Operations, which lasts 18 months and is essentially the equivalent of a foundation degree. As I’ve mentioned, I didn’t want to go to University, so I opted to do a higher apprenticeship as opposed to a degree apprenticeship, where I’d need to study at university in order to gain a Level 6 qualification. I knew there was the option of going to university and getting a similar qualification, but that would have resulted in student debt and potentially no industry experience, so that’s how I made my decision! I also didn’t want to move away from my family. Or my dog – of course!

I think it’s important to note that apprenticeships are not what they used to be. They come in so many different levels and cross over into so many different industries.

I was eager to get into the working world, and an unconditional offer allowed me to do that earlier than I expected. I was super lucky that I didn’t have to wait until I got my A Level results and could get stuck straight into my role. A combination of working from home and office days has also allowed me to form close working relationships with my team, and I really enjoy the times we work together on campus. 

Auto Trader provide excellent on the job training, but I do attend day sessions once a month where I learn about my apprenticeship modules and I’m given work to achieve the Level 4 qualification. The course is very business focused, with it being sales and marketing based, and there have been crossovers with my business A Level which has been really helpful.

My advice for anyone considering an apprenticeship is to apply, apply, apply! I applied for so many apprenticeships, I’d say around 40 in total, but I only received 3 interviews, as the competition is really tough. I found that apprenticeships were super competitive because of how great they are. 

I’d urge you not to take yourself too seriously in interviews, have fun with it and remember the people you’re talking to are humans just like you. A mindset that really helped me in interviews was that the employer just isn’t interviewing you, you’re essentially interviewing them! Remember you can also ask questions about the company and the job…you’re seeing if they’re right for you as much as they’re seeing if you’re right for them!

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