How an apprenticeship scheme set me up for success
Hey, I’m Frances Clark and I’m a Logistics Operations Manager for B2B here at Virgin Media. I started my journey with the business back in 2008 when I joined on the very first Residential Field Technician Apprenticeship. Since then, I’ve had loads of great opportunities, and through my apprenticeship scheme I’ve had a consistent structure throughout my career, which has been the main reason I’ve remained within the business. No matter what role I have been in I’ve always felt fully supported by my team and always encouraged to better myself and progress through the company.
I’ve now been in my current role for seven years! For me, it’s a great mix of showing leadership skills but also working as part of a diverse team and working with non-VM people added a whole new dynamic.
My decision to take on an apprenticeship
I made the decision to leave full-time education because I just didn’t feel fulfilled or challenged by it. I wanted to get out into the real world, but gaining a qualification was very important to me. An apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification whilst also reaping the benefits of full-time employment.
Another important deciding factor was the structured nature of the scheme. From the start I had a robust and supportive network of colleagues around me, which ultimately gave me the confidence to undertake a scheme that was out of my comfort zone.
A big misconception about apprentices is that they earn a low wage! Speaking from experience, this is just not the case. Also, I think that many people think that once an apprenticeship scheme is over; your whole support structure disappears. This is totally untrue! My apprenticeship set me up for future roles within the company and I continue to have support throughout my career.
Why work for Virgin Media?
Virgin Media is supportive, has great potential and is definitely unique! I really feel I now have a great network of people that I respect and enjoy working with and I think I’d be hard pushed to find that in another company. To this day, I still speak to my ‘apprentice family’, and the number of new faces and departments I’m now working closely with means I’m never alone, which is such a great feeling.
My advice to future apprentices
You need to be dedicated and keen to learn something new. An apprenticeship is such a positive experience but learning your role whilst completing a qualification needs dedication. Also, it’s important to recognise that a mixture of lone working and working as a team is required, which is sometimes challenging… but I loved it!