Sophie Heathcock - Business Apprentice

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
I chose an apprenticeship as an alternative to studying for a full-time degree.  After completing my GCSE’s and A-Levels I felt that I wanted to get  into the business environment, rather than just studying, so that I could apply some of the knowledge I had learned in education. I had heard about many students going to university and then struggling to secure a job once they left. Taking an apprenticeship avoids this risk because you are already in employment and gain experience as well as academic qualifications in your field of work.

What’s a typical day like?
My current role in the Motor Shows & Live Events team involves providing general support to both teams in delivering shows and events.  A typical day consists of some administration, such as arranging travel bookings and raising purchase orders, as well as coordinating meetings and projects to support upcoming shows and events.

Are you studying for any qualifications?
During my first year on the apprenticeship, I studied an NVQ3 in Business and Administration which gave me the basic practical skills I require to do my day-to-day role.  Following that, I enrolled in a part time HNC in Business Management course which I plan to extend to a full Honours Degree once completed.  I attend lectures for this course once a week, and Bentley allow me time off to do so, whilst also paying for the fees!

What's good about working at Bentley?
I like being given responsibility to arrange events and meeting a wide variety of people both internal and external to Bentley.  The people I work with are all extremely helpful and this has enabled me to undertake some great placements within the company to develop me further.  Also, many of the people who work at the factory began as trainees too, so there is a large network of people for apprentices to get advice from.

Any tips or advice you would give to someone applying for an apprenticeship?
Do as much work experience as possible - preferably in the area you would like to work in, but otherwise any experience showing you are willing to work and have good communication skills will help.
Look into the qualifications you would like to gain - the Advanced Apprenticeship framework guarantees that you gain an NVQ3, but many companies are willing to fund further higher education following this if you can show it will benefit you and that you will work hard.