Here at JCB Finance we have supported two apprentices so far. Megan, the latest JCB Finance apprentice has now completed her apprenticeship programme and describes this as her biggest professional achievement in her career so far.
Following the completion of Megan’s apprenticeship, she responded to the following questions;
Who or what was your biggest influence when making the decision to study an apprenticeship?
I knew that I did not want to go to University but that I also wanted to gain further qualifications, therefore, an apprenticeship seemed to fit the brief! I liked the thought of training alongside work as I have a more ‘hands on’ approach to learning, which suits the style of an apprenticeship. Family members had also gone down this route and been successful, which further influenced my decision.
How did you manage work and studies over recent months/years during a more challenging time?
It was agreed with my Line Manager at the start of the programme that I would have two half days per week to complete my studies. This time was flexible, which became more important as we started to work from home following the Covid-19 outbreak. I was given new tasks and had to adjust to a new style of working, so the flexibility of study time allowed me to plan my work around priorities.
Do you have any tips for studying during the pandemic that could help those about to start their programme?
Thankfully the programme is completed remotely so is mostly unaffected by the pandemic. However, planning is key to ensure you meet deadlines, both for work tasks and your studies. I found that diarising set time scales for completing tasks helped me to stick to deadlines, especially whilst working remotely which can be challenging and increase the time required for tasks. Regular contact with your colleagues/Line Manager is also important to ensure that expectations are managed and workload can be shared if you have a busy period in your studies. This is particularly important during End Point Assessment as a lot of work is needed to complete this to the required standards.
What advise would you give to learners who are about to embark on an apprenticeship?
Ensure that you plan your work, setting appropriate time scales, and agree with your manager the best time to allocate for studying, ideally before you start the programme. Do not worry about online/remote learning, there are plenty of resources on the Virtual Learning Environment and the Coaches are very helpful if you have any queries. This was something that I was concerned about before I started the programme as I had not been involved in this method of learning before.
We also asked our Head of Human Resources Vanessa about why JCB Finance values apprentices and how they are supported through their studies.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Megan; the latest JCB Finance apprentice to achieve success. Megan was awarded a Distinction after moving to working and learning from home since last March. She rose to the challenge in unprecedented circumstances and is now a permanent member of our Compliance & Risk team.
This is a great example of how apprenticeships are an invaluable way of gaining formal qualifications and real, work-based experience whilst contributing to the organisation’s success. Apprenticeships are an excellent opportunity for employers in helping to develop the talent pool which, in changing times, is increasingly important.”