Q&A: Nicola’s experience as a young apprentice

March 12, 2017

NICOLA began her journey with YMCA Humber as a youth apprentice and is now a youth worker in our Youth and Community Team. She sat down with Events and Marketing Assistant Leanne Kennedy to discuss how being an apprentice has changed her life.

How did you become an apprentice at YMCA?

I studied Criminology and Social Policy at the University of Lincoln and graduated in 2015. I worked for the National Citizen Service during the summer after graduation, but found myself unemployed shortly after the program finished. I knew I wanted to work with young people and I had enjoyed the work I did with the NCS, and therefore when the position for youth work experience came up, I applied for it hoping for the opportunity.

What has been your experience of the apprenticeship scheme?

I’ve really enjoyed my apprenticeship with YMCA as a youth work apprentice. YMCA Humber staff across the organisation have been really supportive throughout and provided me with the help and guidance I have needed. I’ve enjoyed learning on the job and there’s always new opportunities coming up which allows me to dip in and out different roles and responsibilities. I felt privileged to have continued with my employment after my first year as it has allowed me to continue developing.

How do you feel you have developed by being an apprentice?

I’m much more confident now than I was when I first started, I feel more comfortable with engaging with the young people and speaking to new people. My skills have developed and I am more independent in my workload. It’s nice to take responsibility and be in control of my work as it shows I’ve learnt enough and are competent enough to be left to organise myself. I think watching other people and listening to their experiences is the best way to learn and develop within a job role and having that has really impacted on my development.

What would you recommend to young people who are interested in becoming an apprentice?

I would say just ‘go for it’. It’s a great path to go down if you’re looking for something that combines work with learning. I didn’t know a lot about apprenticeship schemes having gone down an academic route after college, but it has been worth while. I have met some amazing people and learnt so many different things. I have more strings to my bow now and I believe there is potential for a good future for me within youth work.

Where do you think you would be had you not become an apprentice?

Honestly, I’m not sure what job I would be in, if any. I certainly wouldn’t have my car as I wouldn’t have had the income to learn to drive and afford to run my own. I left University with little experience and a lot of the job roles I wanted required that experience of working with young people. Luckily, the apprenticeship didn’t require too much skill and/or practice and so it was the perfect opportunity to start my career.

For more information on our Youth and Community team, please visit our Family Work section.