My first year as a recruitment apprentice
Amy Wakefield, Associate Consultant
Good morning to all you lovely people who have decided to read this blog. My name is Amy, I am 19 years old. I’ve just finished my first year in recruitment with the team at Connected Consulting and have nearly completed a one-year Recruitment Resourcer Level 2 Apprenticeship, and I wanted to share how it all works for anyone considering their work options, and companies looking at their recruitment initiatives. Personally, I highly recommend it!
How it all began – deciding on a career path after school
A year ago, I had just finished my A-Levels. Much like most other 18-year olds I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Shall I go to university? Shall I do an apprenticeship? Shall I be an MI5 agent? It’s such a difficult and big decision to be making at such a young age, especially as there are so many options.
I decided the best thing to do would be to sit and think about the things I’m good at and what key skills I have. I eventually decided that I wanted to go straight into work rather than going to university because I’ve always been more of a practical learner. I also realised that I’m a good communicator, like working with people, enjoy building relationships and getting things done! Recruitment seemed to fit the bill!
I saw and applied for a Junior Recruitment Consultant role with Connected Consulting in March 2019. I’d argue that recruitment isn’t really an industry that school leavers tend to look to go into, but for me it looked interesting and matched the key skills I have.
When I was interviewing with Connected, I expressed how my preference is to be in a role where I can gain some form of qualification as this will provide me with further credentials as well as a structured training programme. Between us, we agreed that the junior role would be an apprenticeship.
With my apprenticeship, I work on assignments for Davidson Training, who Connected engaged to structure the learning and provide the framework for the apprenticeship, at the same time as starting my job.
The vast majority of my training and development has been conducted on the job, as I’d hoped. My trainer, Phil Soffe, has taught me from nothing. He listens in on the calls I make and looks at the candidates that I’m approaching and gives me constructive criticism. He explains what to look for when I’m doing a candidate search and how to interpret a job description.
As well as Phil, I’m lucky to work with the three directors of the company – Simon Kemp, David Judge and Martin Rohan. This gives me the opportunity to work on a variety of jobs and with a wider portfolio of clients. It has also given me the opportunity to learn about their different recruitment strategies and how they personally prefer to recruit – helping me find my own style.
For the apprenticeship, initially I had to complete an English and Maths assessments. As I had passed my Maths and English GCSEs I only had to complete one assessment for each. However, if you haven’t passed either subject you may have to take up to three assessments.
Following this, I had to complete seven knowledge units. These units involved me researching and gathering information on various recruitment topics, including:
- The selection process
- The recruitment industry as a whole
- Job descriptions and job adverts
- Recruitment and sales
I also had to research topics such as British values, radicalisation, extremism, diversity, equality and employee rights. Once I had researched these, I had to complete online training on them.
The final section I had to complete included 11 NVQ units. The NVQ units are similar to the knowledge units mentioned above but they also involve you showing how you have used the skills and applied the knowledge you have learnt in your day to day work. For example, one unit was about “making telephone calls to customers”. For this unit I had to:
- Explain how to make calls to customers, the legislation around using customer information, organisational policies and the importance of good customer service etc
- Keep a call log to show that I had made several different types of calls
- Record my end of conversations with candidates to prove I had made certain calls.
The last part of the apprenticeship is the final assessments, which is what I’m currently completing! Wish me luck! 🙂
This includes one written and one verbal assessment. The written assessment involves writing a job advert and answering three questions based on a job description and some company information. The verbal assessment is a one hour talk with an examiner where they ask you a variety of questions to test what you have learnt over the past year.
Throughout the whole process I have been supported by Chloe of Davidson Training, who meets me once a month to go over the work I’ve been set, set further work and help me out with anything I don’t understand or need help with. I also have reviews every three months to evaluate how I, my mentor and my apprenticeship trainer feel about my progress, so the whole process has a structured path and ensures plenty of support and communication.
My first year in recruitment
When I explain to people what I do it sounds so simple: I find a suitable person to fill a role specification I’ve been given. But if it was simple, anyone could do it. As a whole, recruitment has been more challenging than I expected it to be.
I think the hardest part for me personally is that I have such large shoes to fill as the only apprentice/junior recruiter in a company where everyone else has at least 15 years’ experience. Often there are days, and sometimes weeks, where I will be searching for the perfect candidate, whereas the more experienced recruiters will do it in a matter of hours or even minutes. Despite this, I’m thankful to be in an environment where my colleagues are all very successful and have a lot of wisdom to share, and I’m definitely making progress!
My top tip for anyone going into recruitment is that you have to keep motivated and encourage yourself to keep on, because the perfect candidate is out there. You just need to find them. (Well, and engage them, interest them in the job, and help them with their cv maybe!)
My honest thoughts on doing an apprenticeship
If you’re considering doing an apprenticeship and you’re in the position I was, or even if you’re older with more experience than I had and are looking for a career change, I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship. I personally think it’s a really good place to start if you’re going into something that you don’t know much about.
The apprenticeship with Connected has helped me develop a firm understanding behind good recruitment and the industry, and my day to day work has taught me how to apply that knowledge in order to achieve the best results. It’s forced me to research topics I may not have researched, and forced me to ask questions I may not have asked.
Managing my normal workload and the apprenticeship has been easier than I thought it would be. At first, I needed a few hours a week to work on the assessments, but gradually that has reduced to about an hour. I understand that different individuals find different levels of workload easier than others, but if you are considering doing an apprenticeship and are worried about managing both workloads, don’t be concerned. I would recommend that you go for it.
For me, it’s been a great journey full of big and little achievements and a lot of fun along the way. I’m really looking forward to year two!
If you want more information on anything I’ve mentioned above don’t hesitate to send me a message on LinkedIn or drop me an email to [email protected]
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