In case you hadn’t heard, 9 – 13 March was National Apprentice Week. That’s something that we were excited about celebrating as the Opus Energy Apprenticeship Programme has been flourishing for several years now, growing in both size and company area.
We love attracting new talent to join our current apprentices, and we also know that when researching a new job, there’s nothing quite like hearing it from the horse’s mouth.
So we’re running a series of apprentice case studies where you can find out what it’s like from the apprentices themselves. In this case study, Aiden Thomas tells us all about how he successfully applied for his apprenticeship…
Name: Aiden Thomas
Apprenticeship: Business Administration NVQ Level 2
Joined Opus Energy: September 2014
Hi Aiden. Tell us about your role – what’s your day-to-day job like?
I’m in the Registrations team. Within Opus Energy, internal sales people and the external brokers all submit contracts, and we have to process them to get them on our computer system as quickly as possible. That’s the main task, but we’ve also got side bits – for example, sorting out fixed tariffs and meters.
Why did you decide to apply for an apprenticeship?
I just thought it was probably the best way to get into a job when you’ve come straight out of college. I never really thought university was for me, because I didn’t want to come out with that huge debt, and I liked the idea of having the support that comes with an apprenticeship.
What support do you get?
I’ve got an in-team mentor in the Registrations department, there’s Mikey in Learning and Development at Opus Energy, and there’s also my mentor from the college. So any time I have any questions, I’ve got those three people I can go to.
How much time do you spend working and learning on your apprenticeship?
It’s primarily learning on the job, but I get given assignments that I have to do. You have to do research, so I’ve been learning things through doing that. I also do a functional skills part of the course, where I learn how to use spreadsheets and other things like that, so I’m being taught by my assessor from the college and also learning what I do on the job.
How did you hear about the Opus Energy Apprenticeship Programme?
Up until I was 16, I wanted to do 3D animation, but changed my mind after doing work experience. So I left my media course at college and I went to a Careers Fair at the Northampton Guild Hall, where I saw Debbie from the Opus Energy HR department. She spoke to me about the opportunities and I decided to apply for it because I thought it sounded really good.
What stood out about the Opus Energy Apprenticeship Programme?
The first thing was the fact that with Opus Energy I was actually getting a job. There were other ones where I’d have gone in, say, for three days a week, and it didn’t really seem like there was much support anywhere.
I had been to interviews for other apprenticeships, but the opportunities and all the benefits at Opus Energy completely outweighed the others.
What did you have to do to apply?
I started off by sending my CV and cover letter in. Then I received a computer test that I had to do. For example, there were numbers listed and I had to list them in descending order as quickly as possible, little things like that.
Once I completed that, I heard back a day or two later saying to come down to an assessment centre, and I did that. We had to do things like make a tower as high as possible out of cardboard and paper cups, and put an egg on top of it. Then I had an interview, and then I was offered the job. It took about two weeks and was a very quick process.
So why did you think you were successful?
I think it’s because I prepared a lot before I went in. I learnt about the company, I prepared for questions that I thought they’d ask and worked out the answers.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to get a job like yours? Would you always recommend the apprenticeship route?
Well, just go for it! Do all the research, try to prepare yourself as much as you can.
I wouldn’t say to everyone to go for an apprenticeship, because I do a normal job and then there’s all the work on top of it as well. So if you don’t want to do all that, or you don’t really want the qualification, I would say don’t do it. Only do it if you want to put the time in.
And what advice would you give to somebody trying to choose between different apprenticeships?
There are a lot out there that don’t offer much in return, so I’d say make sure you go for a well-respected company; don’t just jump at anything.
What have you enjoyed most about your apprenticeship so far?
I think it’s the fact that you’re not just thrown straight into the deep end. You’re eased into everything and I think that also helps from coming straight out of college because you get the support that comes with it.
What do you think you’ll be doing after your apprenticeship?
Well, I’ve got the option to go on and do another one to get my Level 3 NVQ, or I can just get the Level 2 qualification and carry on work as normal. I’m not sure which one I’ll do yet, but I’ll certainly think about getting my Level 3.
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.
Read more: The Apprenticeship Case Studies: Poppy