As today is International Women’s Day, we are featuring one of our most successful apprentices. Nicola White joined THM over 12 years ago as part of our Apprenticeship Programme and now acts as an Apprenticeship Coordinator alongside her other jobs and responsibilities within TH March. Nicola took some time out of her busy day to discuss her experiences as an Apprentice and also about her roles and responsibilities she has now, 12 years on.
How long have you worked for THM?
I have worked at THM for 12.5 years.
What is your current job title?
Department Coordinator/Team Leader
Who or what inspired you to become an apprentice?
I wanted to earn myself a little money while working and decided that a learning/working/earning combination was best for me.
What was the biggest factor in making you decide to do an apprenticeship?
I was very keen to start a job but to gain a qualification at the same time. That way I was able to build my knowledge from the inside and use the apprenticeship as a stepping stone to work my way up. Since doing my first apprenticeship, I have done another 3, my certificate in insurance and my Diploma in Leadership & Management.
Describe a typical day in the office
I have a team of 10 that I am responsible for as well as the general organisation of the department. Just lately I have helped with training for a new system that has been put in place for our Admin Account Handlers and this has proved successful, they have all been working very hard. I have to manage my e-mails, a diary system, act as an underwriter to our phone Account Handlers and keep an eye on the monthly figures/targets. Going forward, I will be monitoring the telephone system and calls waiting, ensuring there are enough people on the phones and pulling on staff if needed. I have to be there to offer advice on both personal and professional levels to my team members. I conduct interviews with HR for new employees within our department as well. Most days are extremely busy and I am not usually in one place for very long.
What do you enjoy most about your role and why?
I enjoy the fact that things are busy and I am always kept on my toes. I thrive in that kind of environment and find that I am better able to motivate others and help to boost positivity when the pressure is on. I love being able to help others improve themselves professionally and managing the apprentices means that I am able to help others flourish.
How do you think an apprenticeship has improved or opened up your career options?
As mentioned before, I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to study further within this company and this has enabled me to gain a better understanding on many different levels, from administration right up to management. I have been able to improve my skills both in practice and theory.
What advice would you give to other people considering an apprenticeship as a route?
I would say that if you are the kind of person who wants to earn a relatively good wage whilst working, an apprenticeship is a way forward. Long term, it can be extremely rewarding both financially and professionally and you gain so many skills by doing so. You not only gain a qualification but you get to work in a real environment which teaches you it’s own lessons. Going from a classroom to a job can be really daunting, but this way you are able to build on all of your skills both professionally and socially.