Office of Rail and Road
National Apprenticeship Week 2024
Tom Hague shares his experience of successfully completing a Business Administration apprenticeship at ORR.
Can you tell us about your journey as an apprentice so far? What motivated you to pursue an apprenticeship?
I have recently completed my Business Administration apprenticeship course, where I received a Distinction grade in my end point assessment. I was keen to undertake an apprenticeship because prior to joining ORR in November 2022 I had just finished a three-year undergraduate degree course and I wanted to have the opportunity to learn whilst working full-time for the first time.
What specific skills or knowledge have you gained that you find the most valuable?
With this being my first full-time role, I was keen to use the apprenticeship to build up my knowledge and skills of working in the regulatory environment. Throughout the apprenticeship process, I have built up a plethora of office skills - from understanding relevant regulations to considering how to manage stakeholders. This has been a valuable experience in building my confidence in my role in ORR’s Railway Safety Directorate.
What challenges have you encountered during your apprenticeship, and how have you overcome them?
The main challenge for me was balancing my day-to-day job with the additional demands of the apprenticeship course. Initially, I found it difficult to take the relevant time to complete my apprenticeship course. However, after a few weeks, I started to block out dedicated apprenticeship study time in my calendar, which helped me to better manage my time. I would add that my line manager and wider team have been incredibly understanding and supported how I balance my day-to-day job with my apprenticeship work.
Generally, I spent one morning and one afternoon across two separate days each week solely dedicated to apprenticeship work. This meant that I was still able to devote a portion of each working day to my day job, but also allowed ample time for my training and learning requirements.
In what way do you feel your apprenticeship has prepared you for your future career aspirations?
I found my apprenticeship course a thoroughly worthwhile experience and believe that it has given me a great platform to build my career. The range of tasks involved helped to build up my knowledge on multiple topics, but most of all I think that the varied range of assessment methods has enhanced my communications skills. The first assessment was based on a 15-minute live presentation and was followed up with a 15-minute Q&A session, and there was also a 45-minute interview based on the portfolio of evidence that I had submitted after my initial 12 months of study.
I would certainly recommend an apprenticeship course to anyone looking to start out in a new industry, as it has provided a great platform to build-up my experience whilst working in a full-time environment.
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