Apprenticeships: What to expect

12 April 2017 By Catriona Thackray, Business Apprentice

Apprenticeships: What to expect

Starting a new apprenticeship can be pretty daunting, especially if you’ve never really been in that environment before.

There’s definitely uncertainty as to whether you feel ready to delve in to the world of work or not, as it’s such an alien concept. The truth is, nobody can be fully armed and ready to go in to work knowing absolutely everything because it’s not like an exam you can revise for, you just have to enter open minded. 

Firstly, it would probably help to understand what YPO is rather than think of us as the big purple building at unit 41. YPO stands for Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation and we are a public sector organisation. This means we are ‘non-profit making’. Despite this, we aim to make profit as we like to give the profit back to customers. Pretty cool really that if you shop with us you could end up with a free £100 voucher to spend. 

YPO is made up of lots of things; the largest factor would probably be procurement. Before I started I didn’t even know how to spell that word, let alone define it. According to the business dictionary, the act of procurement is ‘the act of obtaining or buying goods and services.’ Basically, we buy goods/services any school or business could desire and sell them to them for a really good price. That is only the start, to support this, we have a customer care team. These guys look after customer queries and essentially keep our customers happy. We have marketing that we rely on for any advertising and designing, these guys are a big part of the catalogue. Not only that, we have accounts that’s sort out all the money side of things and the invoices and the orders. In addition to all these team players, we have I.T who keep our in house software up and running.  There are so many aspects of the company, the possibilities are endless to grow and learn new things.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m going anywhere I always panic about the dreaded what to wear situation. YPO is pretty relaxed on dress wear though, as long as you’re smart and presentable you can wear pretty much anything appropriate, it doesn’t necessarily have to be business wear. On a Friday there is a ‘dress down day’ and this day you can wear what you like. I guess deciding what to wear would just accommodate what you’re doing that day. For example, if you’re seeing somebody external you’d probably want to wear business wear, but if you’re just going to be in the office you might chose to wear your YPO polo top. (When you start you get two tops and a fleece) There is a policy on dress code which you could read just to get a rough idea.

At YPO there is an intranet. This is internal only but so so useful. On there is literally everything you need. There is access to all the policies on absolutely everything, there is indication of employee benefits and access to SharePoint. Most importantly, the link to the canteen menu is on the intranet. Here at YPO there is a subsidised canteen which means the food is super cheap but super delicious! Or you can bring pack up. Going back to SharePoint, this is a space where colleagues save documents which allows other colleagues to access the document too! It’s so helpful rather than having to email absolutely everything everywhere. On the intranet you can also find ‘bulletins’ this is just stuff going on within the business, it also tells you of jobs going within the business.

Something else you may be inquisitive about could be college. As an apprentice, you are given half a day at college a week for a few months where you learn mandatory units and sit online tests for. The rest of the course is units chosen by yourself for what you deem appropriate to you and your role. There is a level 2 qualification and level 3, which you opt for is up for discussion between you and your line manager. The course is self-disciplined and very independent, however, your tutor and colleagues are always keen to help you achieve. 

Overall, my advice for starting a job as an apprentice or not, you must be open to new things. Everywhere you go is different and new challenges arise, but there is always opportunity to ask for help, and people are always willing to give it. Never be afraid to ask questions or to ask for something to be shown to you again, you are here to learn and everybody appreciates that and respects it.
Categories: Education

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