My Apprenticeship Story by Olivia Maher and Charlotte Hersey

Olivia Maher, Quality & Service Assistant at Renault Group UK
From gap year to debt free apprenticeship 

Originally I had applied to university as that was what all of my friends were doing, and I felt like it was expected of me to go. I had my place on my course and accommodation but decided to defer my place and take a gap year as I wasn’t ready to go. Then I started to work, and I realised that University wasn’t for me. I then started looking for an apprenticeship because it is the perfect balance of having a job and earning money but also learning and getting a qualification out of it as well and it is the best choice I made. Here is MyApprenticeshipStory.

I applied for my apprenticeship on the government website. Once I applied I was contacted by a recruitment company and had a very informal interview on teams. This meeting was just to talk about my education and the grades I had received, and it was also so that the recruiter could get to know me a bit better and help me throughout the application process. Once I had applied to the apprenticeship I was given an interview, and the recruiter gave me some tips to help me prepare and she was there to support me if I had any questions.

My typical day varies! I go into the office every Monday and Wednesday, so when I’m in the office I try to have meetings face to face but that isn’t always the case. There is a meeting that takes place every day that I sometimes attend depending on my day, where we discuss how our customers have rated their experiences and what we can do to improve. Recently I have taken on a project, which involves my work phone. This involves me talking to customers regarding their purchase of the new car we have just launched. The aim is to get as much customer feedback that we can regarding their whole experience of purchasing the car through to the handover. If those customers have any questions I will answer them with the help of the specific teams. But generally, I have specific processes that take place in a month but not everyday is the same, which makes the job even more interesting as I learn new things each day!

When I started at Renault, I used a learning platform which showed me loads of information about the new car that would be launching. I would write down notes as I was watching to try and help me soak in all of the information. Additionally with my monthly processes that I do, previous people in my role had recorded the process which is helpful as then I can complete the task and watch the videos at the same time. Also, if I was stuck, I would sit down with my manager, and she would help me go through tasks 1 to 1. However, I do also believe that you will learn as you go along, by attending meetings you will start to understand certain terminology and abbreviations and will eventually get the hang of it!

My apprenticeship lasts for 18 months, so I will be finished around Christmas time. The qualification that I will gain is called Improvement Technician, this course that I am completing can be used in several different companies and it isn’t specific to Renault or the automotive industry. What I like best about being an apprentice is the fact that I get to work but also learn and get a qualification out of it as well. I think it is the perfect balance as university isn’t for everyone so if you still want to learn but also want to start earning money an apprenticeship is the best route to take.

The advice that I would give is don’t feel pressured into doing what you don’t think is right for you, for example, going to university because all of your friends are going but you know that you wouldn’t enjoy it. Explore other options and don’t just think that all apprenticeships are hands on like a plumber or working in a workshop. You can be working in an office space like Charlotte and I dealing with customer experiences and merchandise. Also, you might feel overwhelmed at first, but take it each day as it comes and eventually you will become more confident in what you are talking about and your knowledge.



Charlotte Hersey, Assistant in Parts Marketing, Renault Group UK
Earning while learning business and workplace skills

Since I left school, I knew I didn’t want to go to university. I also knew that I wanted to start earning an income. My mother then introduced the idea of apprenticeships and how you can work and learn at the same time to get a qualification and make money. This was very appealing to me as I could still get the useful skills that I need to do a variety of jobs but could also save towards my future. 

At school I always enjoyed creative subjects such as drama and photography. I also enjoyed learning business studies. After leaving school I realized learning about creative subjects helped broaden my imagination for ideas in my job while using my skills from Business studies.

For my current apprenticeship, I needed both my Maths and English GCSEs. After applying for the job, I was contacted by the recruitment agency to talk about whether I would be a good fit for the role and to explain my previous/current work experience. An interview was then set up at Renault with plenty of briefing beforehand from the recruiters.  

A typical day for me starts with logging onto my laptop and checking through all my emails to see if there is anything important I need to catch up on and focus on before starting some meetings. I have a mixture between focus time and meetings everyday which means I can focus on my projects and work through projects with other people.

To start with I was spending a lot of my time with members of my team going through the basic systems and online training videos to get an idea of where to find different things I may need. By spending face to face time with my team it made the process of learning the main tasks I needed to do far easier. I used systems like LinkedIn to practice skills such as ‘Excel’ and other applications that I am not very knowledgeable in.

My apprenticeship lasts 18 months. At the end of this I will get a Level 3 qualification as an Improvement Technician.

What I enjoy the most about my apprenticeship is that I have been able to test myself and push myself to achieve my goals. I have also enjoyed the atmosphere within the office and how kind my team has been in helping my development. 

I think that apprenticeships are an amazing way of furthering your learning and achieving a qualification while earning at the same time. I have been able to live at home and save money from my earning at the same time while still learning about business and workplace skills.

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