Apprentices @ the Combined Authority: Aoife O'Hara

Name of apprenticeship standard: Business Administration
Level: 3
Duration: 12-16 months
Start date / end date: January 2021 – February 2022

Tell us a bit about your apprenticeship role

My apprenticeship in Business Administration covers areas such as stakeholder relationships, project management, the role of external environment factors, and policies and regulations. I joined West Yorkshire Combined Authority as Apprentice Administrative Assistant, which was a great way to be introduced to the organisation as I provided varied support across all the teams in Employment & Skills. I supported on projects such as the Digital Skills Bootcamps and the FutureGoals Buzz Quiz in the Careers Team, as well as providing administrative support such as diary management, proofreading, supporting with meetings, liaising with stakeholders and financial administration. I’m now nearing the end of my apprenticeship and have progressed into a role as Project Assistant in the Apprenticeships team which is great!

What made you want to do an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship appealed to me as it seemed like a really good way to progress from my previous employment as a learning guide in educational settings into the work I am doing now. It’s provided me with plenty of support and the chance to focus on developing skills in a new setting.

What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship?

It’s a great way to start progressing into something new and develop new skills, and you have the dual support of your tutor and your employer which I think makes trying a new career path a lot less intimidating.

How has the pandemic affected your experience of the apprenticeship?

It’s meant that most of my classes have been online, and there have been no in-person workplace visits from my tutor, which are online too. I have been into college twice for workshops which has been nice, it’s easier to get to know people and have a more interactive session when it’s not through a laptop. I catch up with my tutor virtually once a month or so, and they’ve been able to offer a lot of support with the apprenticeship despite the lack of face-to-face meetings.

What have you enjoyed most about your apprenticeship?

The best thing about doing the apprenticeship has been taking on some of the challenges linked to the course, for example, part of the final assessment is completing a project which can improve something within your organisation. I led on a project around virtual careers resources for learners with SEND (special educational needs and disability). We engaged a series of stakeholder groups and worked with SEND specialist agency Talentino to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations for the resource which are now being implemented into new content for the FutureGoals site. This was valuable experience and is an important piece of work which I hope will benefit the Combined Authority and our creation of further resources in the future.