Every year, businesses from around the UK get together to celebrate National Apprentice Week. It’s an opportunity to reflect on apprenticeship schemes and the positive impact they have on companies and individuals.
Sam Keenan, a twenty-one-year-old HR apprentice from Warrington, joined the UK’s biggest crane company last year. We caught up with him to find out how the new role has been treating him.
I began my apprenticeship at Ainscough five months ago, working towards a degree in Human Resources at Ainscough’s Head Office. Entering such an established company was nerve-wracking, and after so many years at school, it felt particularly daunting to be leaving the safety net of the classroom. But after the very first interview, I realised the workplace is still very much a learning environment. Development is never-ending at Ainscough, no matter how advanced you might be.
For four days a week, I’m at the desk, working closely with the team on new tasks and learning about the different processes involved in human resources. Everyone at Ainscough has been really helpful in my assignments. Each conversation gives me something to reflect upon and progress from, and every day gives me a hands-on opportunity to put those new skills to the test.
Human resources is all about people, the manpower that brings success to a business. Ainscough is an amazing example of the way that people make a company what it is – something you really can’t be taught in school.
There’s a broad mix of ages here, and that means a huge wealth of knowledge and experience to learn from. For those who’ve been at the company the longest, there’s a proud history of practical knowledge, passed down to the next generation by the talented staff. I’ve learned more about cranes than I ever expected!
But there’s also a lot of young people involved in the office’s everyday activities, bringing new perspectives and innovative ideas to the workforce. All of these ideas are listened to and fed back on. Mistakes are met with advice and encouragement, and everyone is happy to lend a hand if I need it.
I attend St Helens College once a week, studying for a human resources management diploma, otherwise known as a CIPD. It’s a Level 3 scheme, and like all qualifications, it has its challenges. But my experience at Ainscough has given me all the preparation I need. Without the resources I’ve had, in both the office and the people in it, I think college would be a lot harder.
A great thing about the scheme is also its personalisation. I aim to finish my degree around July, but should there be some areas I require more practice in, the course can be tailored to my needs. Having that kind of flexibility in my learning helps both myself and Ainscough to feel confident in my ability, putting less pressure on me whilst I am still learning.
For those considering it, I couldn’t recommend an apprenticeship highly enough. Gaining a degree, and the practical experience in the industry? For me, it’s a no-brainer.