Apprenticeships are a great way of discovering whether a particular career path is right for you. We spoke to Jo Willard, 22, who now works full-time at Redemption Brewery in Northumberland Park and is on the verge of completing an Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Administration.
“I did a year at university then dropped out and ended up doing a bit of pub work and a customer service job. When I dropped out my mum spoke a lot about apprenticeships saying things like, ‘You should really think about them because they could be really good’. But I just kept thinking, ‘I don’t want to be a brickie or something like that’ because that’s not for me and that’s what I associated with apprenticeships.
“I applied for the job of office manager at Redemption and afterwards, when I got the job, Andy and Sam (Redemption co-founders) said, ‘Because of your age you’ll be eligible if you want to gain a qualification while working and we’ll be more than happy to put you forward for the apprenticeship’. So I thought, ‘Yeah!’ It would be silly for me to turn it down really.
“So I did a day a week at CONEL (the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London) and continued working here and it was great. CONEL offers you 18 months to finish the course and the class was fantastic and the teachers are really good. I’ve seen that it’s a brilliant way to help people who might not know what they want to do. Some people were using it as a stepping stone to university, while it gave me a direction without pigeonholing me into a set career. That’s because administration is such a wide subject and the skills I’ve learnt are transferable into other office roles.
“It’s a shame there is a stigma attached to apprenticeships. That’s ridiculous because you’re earning and learning as you work. But even when I was telling my friends about starting an apprenticeship I was still saying, ‘Don’t judge me’ perhaps because some people still look down on apprenticeships for whatever reason. But my friends have now seen how happy I am in my job and I think some of them have now changed their opinion.
“I must admit – I’m still not a big fan of beer! But I have learnt that brewing is a lot more interesting than what I first gave it credit for!”
- As the borough’s largest employer Haringey Council offers numerous apprenticeship opportunities. For more information about becoming an apprentice and what’s it like to be an apprentice go to: www.haringey.gov.uk/information-apprentices
- For more information about Redemption in West Road go to www.redemptionbrewing.co.uk