A Warwickshire Bytes Apprenticeship

Suzannah (centre) with other members of the Warwickshire Bytes team at Rugby Library, talking to Kam Kaur, WCC Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation, and Mark Pawsey MP.
Image courtesy of Sarah Hann

Becoming an apprentice was never a career path that I thought I would take until part way through A Levels, when I realised moving on to university was not for me – I wanted to get out of the classroom and put what I’d learned through my school years into practice.

Even though I had ordered many university prospectuses by that point, I started to look for apprenticeships as they seemed better preparation for full time work than university and it was a one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

I wanted to work within the public sector and came across a great number of apprenticeships within the County Council. I applied for two apprenticeships, one at Warwickshire County Record Office and another at County Highways. I was invited to interviews for both of the roles and my first interview took place at the record office, a day before my first A Level exam.

A surprise

My interview consisted of being shown around the record office and meeting the members of staff and volunteers that were in, then having a sit down interview. The whole experience lasted about an hour and I didn’t think I had got the job as some of the questions asked, I didn’t feel like I answered correctly. However 30 minutes after my interview, I received a phone call offering me the job which I accepted the day after. I subsequently cancelled my second interview at County Highways and started looking forward to the possibilities my apprenticeship would bring me.

I was cautious about starting work as I’d never had a job before. However, being part of a new project seemed an intriguing experience that would bring different tasks and challenges every day. Additionally every other member of staff at Warwickshire County Record Office has university degrees and many years of experience which made me nervous, although I soon realised my lack of experience didn’t matter as every member of staff was welcoming and supportive.

What do I do?

My official title is Project Administration Apprentice but I’ve become accustomed to being the apprentice at the record office.

I’m part of a project team for an innovative remote volunteering venture called Warwickshire Bytes. The project brings a new task every day; one day I might be digitising documents that are nearly two centuries older than me, and the next I could be at a business networking event. The record office is never a dull place and I’ve been shown a huge amount so far.

I’ve enjoyed everything about my role as it’s so diverse especially the fact I get to work within a great team. However there were a few challenges when I started, such as remembering how to correctly fill in document slips, when retrieving documents or the structure to how they are organised in the strongrooms, but as time progressed I found it easier and easier to find the documents that I needed and fill in document slips correctly.

Recent events

I recently attended, along with other members of the team, a number of library sessions for the Warwickshire Bytes project around the county. They were a way to reach more people around the county and make them aware of both Warwickshire Bytes, and also the Our Warwickshire website. We visited Leamington, Atherstone, Rugby, Nuneaton, and Stratford libraries, and I spoke to a large amount of people – I even signed some up to the Bytes project!

Overall I feel that they were a resounding success, as the sessions allowed us to spread Warwickshire Bytes further around the county.