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“I have never learned so much, so quickly”



“I have never learned so much, so quickly”

With National Apprenticeship Week in February, we catch up with the South Down National Park’s new apprentices…

Tom Reynolds

Can you tell us more about your apprentice role at the National Park?

I am a business admin apprentice at the SDNPA and I split my time between the Support Services team and the Communications team. I’ve worked on various projects and most recently I have enjoyed helping out with an Astrophotography competition we are running in conjunction with the Dark Skies Festival. I spend one day a week working on tasks for my apprenticeship award, which are business related.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship at the South Downs National Park?

I think my personal values match really well with those of the SDNPA. The core values of respect, innovation and collaboration are really important, and of course a love and appreciation of the outdoors is something I share with my colleagues. Having grown up enjoying the Downs it’s a pleasure to now be working at the SDNPA.

What do you think are the benefits of apprenticeships?

Three months into this apprenticeship I feel as though I have never learnt so much so quickly. I think most people probably feel they are learning lots when they join a new organisation, but we also have our award to complete. It’s very stimulating and I think it’s a great way to enter the world of work.

What’s been the highlight of your time in the National Park as an apprentice so far?

Getting to know both the Support Services and Comms teams has been great, I owe so many people a big thank you for being so welcoming. I have really enjoyed getting stuck in with the retail team selling calendars and looking for new potential merchandise options. It has also been really interesting learning about the digital and social media strategy.

What are your future aspirations for your apprenticeship?

I’m looking forward to getting to know the organisation better and putting some of what I have learn into practice. Hopefully there will be the chance to get out into the downs soon too.

As an apprentice how have you adapted to the challenges of the pandemic?

Two days into my time at the SDNPA we went into a national lockdown. Fortunately, I feel I have taken to homeworking well. I have been lent some extra kit to ensure I have a good workspace, and regular team meetings mean I feel I have a lot of contact with my colleagues.

 

Joely Collyer

Can you tell us more about your apprentice role at the National Park?

 I’m part of the Support Services team, which means I have the opportunity to help out across the whole organisation with various admin tasks. At the moment I am spending three days a week with the Heathlands Reunited team, which is fantastic project to be part of. I also got to work briefly on reception at the South Downs Centre before we had to close, so I’m looking forward to being back and spending more time there.

 

Why did you choose an apprenticeship at the South Downs National Park?

I graduated from University in the midst of a pandemic with a degree in something I wasn’t passionate about. I felt a bit lost, but I knew I wanted to do something related to business with either the local community or environment in mind. I came across the apprenticeship position while browsing for a job and I felt that everything had fallen into place. I have always enjoyed being in the South Downs National Park, so I feel very lucky to be able to do my apprenticeship here.

 

What do you think are the benefits of apprenticeships?

I think that there are so many benefits to apprenticeships, and that they are a great option for so many people! The main benefit for me is being able to work in a job I enjoy whilst being supported and learning at the same time. There is a big leap between education and a career, but an apprenticeship bridges the gap which is something I really appreciate. Being able to gain a qualification whilst earning money is also a benefit, as it makes apprenticeships more accessible.

 

What’s been the highlight of your time in the National Park as an apprentice so far?

I’d have to say my colleagues have been the highlight so far! From the moment I started I have been welcomed and supported by everyone I’ve met, and I instantly felt like a valued member of the team. The Support Services team is fantastic, and I always look forward to our team meetings.

 

What are your future aspirations for your apprenticeship?

I would like to continue developing my business skills, and experience different areas of the organisation through Support Services. I hope that once my apprenticeship is complete, I can continue working in a role that challenges me as well as makes me happy.

 

As an apprentice how have you adapted to the challenges of the pandemic?

Starting a new role just before another national lockdown definitely has its challenges, but the support I have received has been incredible. From virtual meetings with people across the organisation, to friendly emails from colleagues introducing themselves, I have felt connected to everyone from my first day. We are also lucky that the apprenticeship training is being provided online, as it means we can continue as normal no matter the circumstances.

 

 

Charles Pugh

Can you tell us more about your apprentice role at the National Park?

My title is business administration apprentice, but you can call me Charlie. I am part of the Thrive team, within the authority. Our objective is to support the socio-economics of the park’s businesses and communities. My role is quite diverse, from creative project solutions to developing a business network, combined with a training programme to achieve a L3 business administration qualification.

 

Why did you choose an apprenticeship at the South Downs National Park?

After completing my Geography degree at the University of Exeter, I sought work in the field of conservation. Climate change and sustainability are topics I believe to have great importance and the South Downs National Park is in a great position to act and spread this message to government, businesses and communities.

 

What do you think are the benefits of apprenticeships?

Under the current climate, I would argue apprenticeships have never been more important. I count myself very lucky to have this position. Fundamentally, apprenticeships provide the training and experience you need to stand out. For me, it is the foundation of my career, I am developing in a professional environment, with a great team and hope to learn as much as I can.

 

What’s been the highlight of your time in the National Park as an apprentice so far?

With the exciting launch of a big project this year, our team took a day to walk the Kingley Vale and develop our ideas in the beautiful countryside. It was a refreshing reminder of our works purpose and duty.

 

What are your future aspirations for your apprenticeship?

To gain as much knowledge and experience as I can, while trying to influence a positive agenda for our National Park and local businesses. Also, to create a strong network of like-minded people so the apprenticeship can act as a launching pad for my career.

 

As an apprentice how have you adapted to the challenges of the pandemic?

I am quite lucky in a way, because having no past office experience, it has been relatively smooth for me to adapt to working from home. It’s also developing my resilience, which is good, but I look forward to getting back to the office and enjoying the social side of work.