Bobbie Clarke, 18, from Wiltshire, is studying for a Level 3 apprenticeship in business administration at Bath College and works at Curo. Curo is a Bath-based housing association providing nearly 13,000 affordable homes to people across the West of England. Bobbie, who studied international business at Bath College for two years before taking on an apprenticeship, works within Curo’s asset administration team.
What’s your role within Curo?
In our team we manage planned improvements to all of Curo’s properties. We do things like upgrades, new kitchens, bathrooms and heating.
I deal with consents. If someone wants to improve their home and fund it themselves they need consent. I get that information in, sort it and send the surveyors out to look at the property.
Why did you decide to apply for an apprenticeship?
It’s more practical and I get to speak to contractors and customers on a daily basis. The amount of the work is the same as college but the practical side of it has given me a lot more experience within business.
I didn’t want to go to university, I wanted to earn money and learn at the same time. I felt that university wasn’t for me. I’m learning from other colleagues who show me different things.
How did you secure a place as an apprentice?
I met Lisa, who is Curo’s Employment, Training and Engagement Coordinator. I met her at Bath College’s apprenticeship fair, she did a mock interview with me and encouraged me to go for a job.
We were just talking about the role and she said ‘I really think you should go for it’. I didn’t get that job, but she encouraged me to apply for another. She thought I would be better suited to that role. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t spoken to her.
What do you enjoy about your apprenticeship?
You learn on the job much faster. It’s better than I expected – some people said ‘you’re going to make lots of cups of tea as an apprentice’ but I haven’t had to do that. I have my own projects so I’m quite independent, my manager treats me as another member of staff. I manage my own workload and my own diary – I enjoy the independence.
What support do you get to complete your apprenticeship?
My assessor comes out to me from Bath College to see how I’m progressing. She checks my work and that I’m getting on ok. I have picked certain units and I have to evidence what I’m doing within my job to back those units up.
What advice do you have for people looking for apprenticeships?
Go to apprenticeship fairs and speak to people (because they do notice) and speak to careers advisers at the college.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the first role. A lot of people get disheartened but you have to keep going. Don’t be shy, make contacts and show that you’re interested in the role instead of sitting back.
When you go to an interview write a few notes down beforehand, and then you can look at that piece of paper if you get stuck. I didn’t even need to look at my piece of paper, but because it was there I felt more confident.
What are your plans for the future?
I definitely want a career in customer service, I would love a job as a PA or to continue my development with Curo.
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