I have now been in my apprenticeship for 6 months, and the time has flown by. It feels like only yesterday, I was hunched over my laptop in my bedroom obsessing over the smallest details of apprenticeship applications, stressing over the result and struggling to sleep. The last 6 months have been such an emotional rollercoaster and this blog will tell you about the 3 most important things I have learned in the first 6 months.
Coming into my apprenticeship I spent a lot of time worrying about whether I was ready for the workplace. I wasn’t, I don’t think you ever can be as an 18-year-old entering the world of work. I have made so many mistakes in my time at Accolade Wines. At first, I would beat myself up and doubt my suitability for an apprenticeship. But I have come to learn that without these failures and mistakes I wouldn’t be able to grow, improve and learn. At the end of the day, an apprenticeship is a learning experience and the education comes first. Lots of apprentices at the beginning of their journey are naïve to the idea that the education only comes from their training provider. In my experience, it is the opposite and I have learned much more from my mistakes than from my university. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it is how we learn.
Being an apprentice can feel like an incredibly lonely place, you are the youngest in the workplace, but the only one of your peers that is holding down a full-time job, if your training is delivered online, there is very little interaction with others on your course, you miss social events because you have to work. All of this can be very isolating. However, as an apprentice, it is battling against all of these things that makes you so inspirational. Being able to foster strong professional relationships at work despite your age, managing to have a full-time job but keep up a social life with your peers and completing a degree or higher-level training course is an amazing achievement. Work on your relationships in and out of work and your life will be 100 times easier.
I really struggled with my mental-health at the start of my apprenticeship, due to my lack of meaningful relationships, and other external matters. I tried for months to hide my lack of motivation and low mood. It was a few months in that I decided to talk to my team about how I was feeling and the support I received was incredible. Don’t feel as if you have to be okay at work all the time. Everybody in that office is a human that experiences exactly the same emotions as you. Talk to somebody that you trust about how you are feeling at work and don’t feel embarrassed about your emotions.
I hope these three pieces of advice are useful, there are plenty more lessons that I could have written about but I think these three are the most important to me. If you need any further support, you can contact Not Going to Uni, or me on Linkedin. Just search for Ethan Woolsgrove.