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Meet the Apprentice - Matt Leaney

What advice would you give to someone looking for / applying for an apprenticeship?

Don't be afraid to apply for an apprenticeship even if you're not 100% sure what you want to do. The aim of an apprenticeship is for you to learn new skills and gain experience on the job so that afterwards you can take those skills and experiences wherever you see fit. When applying for an apprenticeship, find out what the firm is looking for in a person and decide whether you match the criteria. Make sure that you express yourself and explain how you would fit the role.

What are the differences between school life and office life?

Office life is a better opportunity to work in the way that suits you best. You aren't restricted to a certain way of doing things. You can also be more flexible in terms of the way you prioritise your own tasks. The hours are longer than at school, but when you're busy the time goes very quickly! The office environment is also more relaxed than a classroom, you can build relationships with your colleagues whilst doing the work, rather than simply listening and taking notes.

How did you find settling into office life?

It was a bit odd at first, simply because it's such a new environment with new people. However, it doesn't take more than a week to begin feeling like part of the team. Everything soon becomes second nature!

How does an apprenticeship work at Ashfords?

At Ashfords, you complete your apprenticeship in the office, which means you don't have to spend any time studying at an external college. Instead, every few weeks we receive a visit from an external trainer, with whom we have one-to-one meetings about our progress. They set us tasks to complete and we are then given one afternoon a week away from our desks to study as a group. This is helpful because we are able to discuss the work and support each other.

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