Apprentices at Catalyst have adapted to new ways of working due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There are currently 11 enrolled apprentices across different areas of the business including customer services, repairs and IT, offering a way for people to learn and earn.
When the pandemic hit, our apprentices were told to continue their work and qualifications from home where possible. Apprentices are among many of our colleagues whose normal working lives have been disrupted by Covid-19.
We checked in with apprentices Nathan Dodson, Linard Laith and Afshan Tahir to see how they’re coping with the changes brought about by Covid-19.
What does continuing with your apprenticeship mean to you at this challenging time?
Nathan: It has opened my eyes to many things and I believe I can overcome any obstacle that gets in my way. It has proved that Catalyst is one big team and we always come together for the right reasons. It has allowed me to keep growing despite the barriers of working virtually.
Linard: It means I have an opportunity to work on improving my work skills and gain experience in a professional environment. I’m also able to gain a qualification and improve my understanding of the subject.
Afshan: Completion of my apprenticeship will allow me to gain qualifications, so I have a wide range of opportunities in a very competitive market.
How has your line manager supported you through the pandemic?
Nathan: My manager has been there for me since the beginning of the pandemic. She is happy to answer my questions and I know that I can discuss any concerns with her.
Linard: I started at Catalyst during lockdown. This made it difficult, but my manager was able to help me settle into my new team. They trained me and helped me understand what I needed to do in order to carry out my role to the best of my ability.
Afshan: My line manager has maintained communication and consistently scheduled one-to-one meetings to support me with my ongoing work.
What have you achieved so far? And what are your future plans?
Nathan: I have gained a variety of new skills and completed my mock exams. During my programme, I have held departmental events and have seen how projects are completed.
Linard: I have achieved an understanding of the organisation and been able to help my team reach their monthly objectives. I have also helped other teams with their projects. My aim is to finish the apprenticeship and hopefully look to settle with the business in a permanent role.
Afshan: I have been able to build up knowledge and improve my personal and professional skills. I have also gained an understanding of how a business works. My future plans are to grow within Catalyst, if given the opportunity, by progressing from an apprentice to a more specialised admin role.
What advice would you give to others who are thinking about doing an apprenticeship?
Nathan: Go for it! Apprenticeships are a great way to get your foot in the door and start your career whilst also learning!
Linard: I’d say go for it. Apprenticeships are so beneficial in many ways and if you do your research you will believe that too. It helps improve your work experience in a professional environment whilst working towards a qualification of your choice. It brings you an income and you won’t have a debt to pay back.
Afshan: I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship. They are a great way of gaining hands-on training, which will give you a real chance to put your skills into practice and help you to gain more confidence in a real working environment.
Celebrating our apprentices
Ellie Parminter, Organisational Development Coordinator, said: “This has been a difficult time for everyone and our apprentices have experienced a lot of changes to their working life over recent months.
“We’re really proud of the way they have responded during the pandemic and have adapted to ensure their work still gets done to a high standard. They have been an asset to their teams in this difficult time.”