Starting an apprenticeship in 2020

Virgin Media

February 8, 2021

Jade – Planning Apprentice

I wanted to apply for an apprenticeship because I didn’t want to commit to going back into education without an income, as I had been working for the past three years and wanted to keep my independence. Yet, I also wanted to expand my horizons and get some qualifications under my belt that could be translated into the real-world application.

I started the planning apprenticeship in September 2020. As such, many of the assessment centres and interviews were virtual on the lead up to my acceptance. Virgin Media made this feel seamless with contact over email, phone and a practice session on WebEx. I was luckily enough to meet some of the team on my first day, I was introduced to some of my fellow apprentices in the same office and met my mentor and manager. As the office I work in is COVID safe, I decided to go into the office to get training for the first three months so I could understand the role better.

However, Virgin media understood that people wanted to work from home to ensure their own health and family were safe. I am working from home now and the contact and support from my mentor Sofiane and colleges has been consistent and revitalised to adapt to the current pandemic. There is online material like the planners road map that provide extra material for me to learn from and the tools to continue to develop in the role.

Charlotte – Finance Assistant Apprentice

Of course, 2020 was a strange year – the pandemic influencing almost everything – so naturally when I was offered a role at Virgin Media last summer, I was unsure on how the apprenticeship would be affected. The Future Careers team were great at making sure we felt comfortable coming into our new roles, providing us with as much information as they could and answering any questions that we had.

Although it’s been strange trying to settle in virtually, everybody is so welcoming that it hasn’t been an issue. A big focal point of the company is ‘building connections that really matter’, and it became how important this was very quickly. To help us settle, within my first few weeks there were calls introducing us to the different aspects of the business and our individual teams. By doing an apprenticeship I’ve managed to combine my job with studying – I’m currently studying for my Level 3 AAT Qualification and it’s helpful being able to apply what I learn to my day-to-day role.

This time last year if you’d have told me that I’d be working for Virgin Media I’d have never believed you. Unlike some of my friends who have just started university, I’m already in the job I’m studying for (and getting paid for it!). I thought that by coming straight from college I might struggle to fit in and that I would have less responsibility than everyone else, however that hasn’t been the case at all!

Antiana – Project Management Apprentice

Early 2020, I wanted a complete change of career path, but I knew that I didn’t have the right qualifications or experience to start on this journey. I knew an apprenticeship would be the best fit for what I was after and found the opportunity with Virgin Media. I was quietly concerned whilst I was applying because of the pandemic and lockdown 1.0 at the time. To my surprise, they still had every intention of hiring new apprentices even during Covid-19 and were very supportive during the recruitment process.

Any nerves were quickly calmed down when it came to my first day. I was lucky enough to meet some of my new team in person at the office (the rest I met virtually) whilst collecting all the tools I would need for “working from home” life. The training I have been given through my mentor has been nothing short of amazing and I feel like I have learnt so much in a short space of time! From day dot, I have been introduced to many people outside of my team whom have always been keen to get to know me and have me involved in their upcoming projects. I can tell within VM they are building a diverse workforce and heavily investing in my education and development.

Being someone who has been to university and worked full time before doing an apprenticeship, I can safely say that it was the best career move I have ever made and I could not recommend it to anyone strongly enough. If you want to earn whilst you learn this is definitely the route to take.

Jonathan – Assistant Accounts Apprentice

Prior to this apprenticeship I was completing A levels and potentially looking at attending a university however after assessing the options an apprenticeship was clearly the best option and the practical and transferrable skills that I have developed already in 3 months bear that out.

Due to the pandemic, I have only been into the office once to pick up equipment in order to work from home. Despite this, the support has been unreal and the transition into working life has been seamless which is testament to the adaptability of both the business and apprenticeships in general.

Working alongside study is the perfect match for me as it allows for me to apply and utilise what I have studied in real life scenarios. With 20% of my time dedicated to study I have found no issues with time constraints. Additionally, the practical work has aided in my understanding of accounting principles. In the crazy times we are living in this apprenticeship has been a ray of light, providing me with a positive attitude. The future feels bright and there are exciting times just around the corner.

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