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Sometimes we need to make our own luck

Taking control of my destiny: How restarting my apprenticeship transformed my prospects

Katie
Ellingham
Business Admin Apprentice

You could say my apprenticeship journey hasn’t been the smoothest. When I first started my role as a Bookings Coordinator Apprentice 11 months ago, I could never have imagined the journey I’d go on and the things I’d learn about myself...

In late 2017 and after constant encouragement from my sister, I decided to start the hunt for an apprenticeship. There are lots of different apprenticeships providers out there (the companies who deliver the training and place you with a business) and I was lucky enough to come across WhiteHat. 

I applied to WhiteHat and was called by a team member. A couple of days later I sat in their office on a kick-off day. At the kick-off day, each candidate had a one-to-one interview with a Talent Manager and during my one-to-one I was referred to a career and personal development programme called Resurgo Spear. I had lost so much confidence and there was such a massive gap in my CV that I knew that it was the best thing for me to undertake before applying for a specific apprentice role. 

In the summer of 2018, I finally found a Business Admin Level 3 apprenticeship that sounded right for me with an organisation called Isledon (this apprenticeship was actually delivered by a different provider, not through WhiteHat). Isledon manages three youth hubs in Islington. When the buildings are not being used by young people, the spaces are available for commercial hire. This generates revenue to help contribute to the costs of running youth services. In August 2018, I started my apprenticeship as Bookings Coordinator at Isledon.

My apprenticeship experience was quite different to what I had hoped it might be. As a kid, I was very creative and struggled to retain attention during long school days of being spoken at by teachers or having to sit in silence and do private study. So it was a real struggle for me to be in a similar environment during my days of training on my apprenticeship. At the start of each session, we would be given some exam questions and a basic presentation and were instructed to answer those questions for the day. The tutor would sit at the front of the class for the remainder of the day in silence. We would leave at 4:30pm and I would have no contact with the coach or provider until the next session came round. I felt dumb, isolated and unchallenged. I worried that if I continued my apprenticeship it was going to have a really negative impact on me, so I  struck up the courage to speak to my boss and ask for a transfer for a different apprenticeship provider…

By the start of 2019, I was signing documents to restart my apprenticeship with WhiteHat, having had such a good experience with them earlier on in my journey. WhiteHat was such a drastic change from my previous provider that I found myself sobbing down to the phone to my coach within the first month. By being honest with my coach and my line manager, I was able to find a balance that worked for me and the organisation. I have since been able to complete my coursework to a high standard (without the tears!). 

WhiteHat is very community-based with many events happening throughout the week. I have constant contact with my coach through the Slack messaging app and have a catch-up call every two weeks. Every month I have a 1-to-1 meeting with my coach which allows me to get 

in-depth feedback and a teaching method that works well for me. I have managed to become more self-confident, pro-active and sociable. 

My journey hasn’t been as simple as I hoped it might have been but I’ve learnt so much through the process and am really proud of myself for persevering when things got tough and taking my destiny into my own hands. 



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