You may be close to leaving college, or considering a change in career. Applying for jobs is a drag, and work experience is tough – which is why we want to tell you all about our apprenticeships.
In case you hadn’t heard, 9 – 13 March is officially National Apprentice Week, and that’s something that we’re excited about celebrating, thanks to the thriving Opus Energy Apprenticeship Programme.
We could go on endlessly about what we have to offer – but why hear it from us when you could hear it from the apprentices themselves?
Kicking us off is Opus Energy apprentice Poppy Roach, who tells us why she’s loving her work and how it’s helped her come out of her shell…
Name: Poppy Roach
Apprenticeship: Business Administration (NVQ Level 2)
Joined Opus Energy: April 2014
Hi Poppy. What were you doing before your started your apprenticeship?
Opus Energy is my first ‘real’ job. After finishing school, I did some work experience and had been looking into completing an NVQ in Business Administration as the qualification is recognised more widely across many businesses, as opposed to concentrating on one specific subject.
Why did you want to become an apprentice?
When you start at the base level of the business you’re actually learning everything to do with it – it’s not as if you’ve just been put into a role, you’ve actually learnt the ropes along the way. I also thought having more experience within a company would look better on my CV. Instead of just having the theory of it from studying it, you’ve got the practical knowledge as well.
What made you choose Opus Energy for your apprenticeship?
I was looking for an apprenticeship to be able to seek and expand my knowledge. I was lucky enough to have been accepted for a couple of apprenticeships, but I chose Opus Energy as it had more opportunity to grow within the businesses, which has always been important to me.
What’s your role, and what does your day to day job involve?
I am a Customer Service Administrator in the AMR metering team, where we install smart meters. My job includes everything from sending jobs to the meter operator, to helping the customers with any questions they have, to arranging jobs with distributors and updating our online database.
What have you learnt as part of your apprenticeship?
I get assignments and have fortnightly meetings with my tutor from the college. My tutor and I go through the questions, which gives me an opportunity to ask anything I have any concerns about and get feedback on my work. For me, this has worked really well as I am always looking for ways to improve.
How do you find the work/life balance?
Opus Energy gives you an hour a week to help you with your studies and I don’t think many other companies do that. I’ve given myself a schedule for what I need to do, and I don’t feel like I’m going home and doing loads of work. I think the fact that you are working and studying would potentially put a lot of people off, but I don’t find it to be a problem whatsoever.
How have you benefited from the apprenticeship so far?
Unlike many other employers, Opus Energy provides every mentee with a mentor who also works in the company. Having my mentor has allowed me to have someone to speak to whenever I have any questions or need help with anything.
I think this is a great idea as I was particularly shy when I first joined Opus Energy. So as well as gaining a wealth of business knowledge, I feel I have become more confident in day to day life, inside and outside of work.
What have been the best and most challenging parts about doing an apprenticeship?
The best part of doing the apprenticeship with Opus Energy is the support you have along the way. There is always someone to speak to if you’re stuck or need help with anything, whether it’s your mentor, tutor or team leader.
What’s the hardest part about studying and working?
When you first start it can be quite overwhelming and daunting, but you receive lots of support so you don’t actually have to worry about anything. I was really worried about talking on the phone at first but I learnt how to do that really slowly and now it’s like second nature. The programme has definitely helped me to come out of my shell.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others?
Absolutely. I think it’s a really great idea for anybody who knows what they want to do and get stuck in.
Although it may be a little more difficult than just going to college, you are learning and getting experience, and you have a salary so you are not tallying up debt. Working your way up through the company also gives you the opportunity to learn the ropes.
Would you recommend Opus Energy and Northampton College to others?
I feel the apprenticeship Opus Energy offers is in another league compared to most apprenticeship opportunities. It makes you feel like you are part of the team and you’re not just the person making the tea and doing basic jobs. Opus Energy doesn’t hold you back at all and if you feel like you would like more responsibility, they offer it along with a wealth of support to guide you along the way.
Northampton College are very much the same, they have an online portal which makes uploading work for your tutor a breeze and also gives you the option to speak to your tutor whenever you need. You can view all the feedback via the portal and it clearly shows your progress within the apprenticeship.
Interested in the Opus Energy Apprenticeship Programme, or just want to find out more? Find out the job benefits, salary and qualification information over on our Apprenticeship Programme page.