National Apprenticeship Week - Grace Hutchings, Cogeco Peer 1

When I applied for my apprenticeship, I was fresh out of college having completed my A-Levels and looking for my next step. I battled with the choice between university and work for a while, but I always knew deep down an apprenticeship would be the best option for me. Initially, I applied to be a Lead Development Representative, but the Sales Support/Enablement role came up in my interview and I knew instantly it was a better fit for me. Being able to gain a qualification whilst beginning my career and earning money has been ideal and I have no regrets about taking this route.

Over the past year and a half I have learned a lot, both knowledge and skills and about myself. One of the main things I’ve taken from this experience is how important prioritisation of tasks is. Before starting at Cogeco Peer 1, I had never worked in an office environment, so it was all very new to me. I quickly realised that to make this work I’d need to prioritise every task that came my way, and that some tasks are more urgent than others. I feel that over the course of my apprenticeship I have gotten much better at this, and although I may not be perfect at prioritisation yet, I’ve come a long way.

As well as focusing on my coursework, I have had the chance to get involved in a variety of different things whilst being at CP1. My best highlight at CP1 is definitely planning and running our FY19 EMEA Sales Kick Off event. Being given the opportunity and trusted to start this just months after starting as an apprentice gave me a huge confidence boost and allowed me to have fun and experience different things. It forced me to have to speak to various people, both in and out of the company, which I was always apprehensive to do at first. The planning of this event provided some very important lessons and allowed me to have some fun and get my teeth stuck into something completely new and unfamiliar. I couldn’t be prouder of how it turned out and it’s an experience I’ll always be grateful for.

Right now, I’m preparing myself for my final assessment – only 5 weeks to go! I’ve been planning for this since January, making sure I have the best possible revision materials ready and setting time aside each week to revise effectively. It’s a daunting thought, knowing that what I’ve been working towards for the past 18 months is finally coming to end. To celebrate (hopefully!) passing my assessment, I’m planning on letting my hair loose and relaxing after a stressful few months of preparations.

A question that keeps popping up is “what next?”. It’s something I spend a lot of time thinking about - what’s going to be right for me? What do I want to do now? For me, the most important thing is expanding the role I’m currently in to fit both my needs, and those of the business. I’m excited and intrigued to see where this will take me.


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