Your first year as an apprentice can be quite chaotic. You’ve just finished GCSEs or A-Levels and you have just started a full-time job working a 9-5, 5 days a week on top of studying. It can be quite overwhelming!
I feel like I adjusted to apprenticeship life the most during the first few months of my apprenticeship as they were the most turbulent months. In the first few months you will be onboarded into the company therefore meeting the other apprentices in your cohort, start university/ college and take part in initial training. I found that it is best to make the most of these opportunities, as it will help you bridge the gap between school and work. You will also find that you are more comfortable at work after engaging well in these events.
When meeting other apprentices, make sure to talk to them about what they’ve studied, how they are finding the transition and how apprenticeship life is for them. Creating a bond between you and other apprentices is very helpful as you will be able to help each other if there is something that someone is struggling with, and it is good to have connections with your peers that are going through the same route as you. Whether you have a group chat on teams, social media or talk via LinkedIn it is good to stay in regular contact with each other, especially if the apprentices in your company are spread across multiple offices.
Starting university alongside work is never easy, however if you manage your time well and reach out to people when you are struggling, it will make it much easier. My university provided me with the topics I would be studying throughout the course of my entire apprenticeship and how much each topic would contribute to my final grade. They also gave us optional pre reading before each topic began, this allowed me to have a better understanding of each topic before I attended the lectures. One of the positives of doing an apprenticeship is that if you are struggling with a topic at university, you can ask someone at work to explain it to you as they have already studied it and apply it in their day-to-day job, this has helped me a number of times with theory I don’t understand. My university provided me with an itinerary for the year stating when assignments were due. I found this very helpful when planning my time and looking at when I would have any clashes between assignment due dates and work deadlines. I would recommend asking your university or college for a yearly itinerary if they don’t initially provide one.
Initial training at work is very helpful and will bridge your knowledge between GCSEs/ A-Levels and work. Training will allow you to develop the skills you’ll need in your job; help to understand what projects you will be working on at your job and will let you know what you don’t know so that you can ask for additional training. Your work may provide you with training programs or give you research projects where you will do independent reading into a topic and then discuss it with a colleague who will help expand your knowledge on the topic. I would recommend asking for training in your first few months if you believe you aren’t being provided with enough as it will set the foundation for the rest of your apprenticeship.