If you know me, I have probably talked your ear off about apprenticeships, since I started mine, I realised how much I was missing out before by deciding to go to college after school then go on an apprenticeship.
After high school ended for me in 2014, I opted to go to a big college, with no one I knew, in a different area.Now at the time this seemed like the perfect idea for me because I wanted to be away from where I lived and who I lived around, but I soon realised a big college like that one wasn’t for me and I backed out a lot sooner then I am proud to say. After dropping out of college, I needed somewhere new, so after a long needed break, I started looking for an apprenticeship, as I had decided this would be best for me to gain my qualifications. In college I was going professional cookery and first looked for apprenticeships in that field, no luck. After months of looking, a company got in touch with me and I found a training provider, which was much smaller and closer to home. In September 2015 I started at my new ‘mini college’ and for the next 6 months I studied for my maths and English functional skills level 2 and also gained a certificate in ’employability’ which helps you write a CV, understand the laws at work and trains you what to do during an interview for a job. In Feb 2016, I left that college with my maths and English level 2 and other certificates. I was again on the hunt for an apprenticeship, through this time I was unsure what I wanted to do anymore… did I want to go into business admin? or childcare? or cooking? or animal care? I looked on the apprenticeship site for these and found a couple I liked in different fields and applied online for them. The gov.uk apprentice site is where I applied for the apprenticeship I later got in animal care.
I started at a dog groomers in April 2016, I started with a trail week and later was given the job, I then went to the training provider for an induction. That was it, I had my apprenticeship. My apprenticeship was my first job and for 4 months at my placement I was very happy, I felt like my anxiety and depression was decreasing and I felt better with myself, I was enjoying it. I liked the people I worked with and the place I worked but things where not working out for me there, the happiness went away and I was filled with anger everyday, I didn’t enjoy it anymore, it was a nightmare every week for me and the thing I struggle with most now, is trying to think back to when the job I loved turned into a job I hated and I am still trying to figure out how to tell people about the change I made during my apprenticeship, but it was so many things, it is hard to name all the reasons why I am no longer there. The last month at my former placement was the hardest and all those little things I could deal with, become one massive issue and I couldn’t handle it anymore, I had to leave and August 2016, I was gone. What happened? My friends and family say… ‘ you seemed so happy there’.
I don’t know the ins and out of the business I worked for, I do not know what kind of person my boss was and what were her real reasons for hiring me, whether it was cheap labour as I was being paid apprentice wage or if I wasn’t cut out for that kind of business.
In the simplest terms, here is what I was struggling with while working there:
- I wasn’t getting my breaks as they did not think I was working fast enough( can I just add that they overbooked dogs in and excepted the cleaning to be also done during this time)
- I wasn’t getting home till 7pm, even though I finished at half 5 because I was not allowed to leave 2 minutes early to get a bus that would take me straight home(even after offering to come in earlier, plus I wasn’t getting my last 15 minute break anyway)
- My breaks and dinners where never my own and I was always getting up to get dogs for customers and answering the phone during the only time during the day I could sit down and enjoy my dinner.
- Talking of dinners, I wasn’t getting mine till around 2.30 – 3pm
- I was being asked to come in on my days off, the night before(by night I mean 10pm, when I had already made plans the next day).
- When I got home at 7pm, after having a bath, putting my uniform in the wash and cooking my tea, it was time to go to bed for work the next day, I was so tired my last month, I was constantly drinking energy drinks( which aren’t good for my anxiety but I had no choice).
After I had left my former placement, one of the girls, whom I thought was my friend started putting things on social media, calling me selfish, a loser and other colourful things, I was at this point(before seeing these) debating going back to this placement if my tutor at college could resolve some of the issues there, but after this I was sure I did not want to go back to that place, with them girls. For a couple weeks I didn’t know what I was going to do about my apprenticeship, luckily my assessor at my college helped me through the process of finding a new placement, one nearer to home, one where I would be happy. That is when I heard about a dog grooming salon nearer to home, 15 minutes away infact. It all happened within a week, I called the manager Monday, went in for an interview Tuesday,in college Wednesday and started working at this new place on Thursday, I was relieved, I had a place again.
I have been at my new placement for around 5 weeks now and I am so much happier. I feel like the people I work with know what they are doing in regards to running a business. It takes me 15 minutes to get home( 5 minutes on a non busy bus and 10 minutes walking from the bus stop). The environment is very different, it’s the kind of place I feel like I fit in, the kind of place I need to be at, not at all like my old placement. My assessor recently came out to assess me and everything is going well and the bonus is I don’t have to start my course again, so I am not behind. I have no settled into college again(after the summer break and new people starting) and settled into my job at my placement.
I do believe that change is good and sometimes change is a much needed thing. I know I needed a change and even though it was scary, I am happier because of the change.