22nd Jul 2022
Level 3 Business Administration apprentice, Caitlyn Pickford, took the honours as Apprentice of the Month this July in recognition of her dedication and progress on her apprenticeship, which she began in October 2021.
Caitlyn works at Oxford County Council as a Housing Options Apprentice in the Housing Options department. Her role is to assist people in need to access housing and support.
Caitlyn has always enjoyed volunteering and helping others - she volunteers for Act Housing in the evenings delivering meals to those in need - and she finds that the positive difference she can make in people's lives is a large part of the satisfaction she gets from her job. She said: "I lost a lot of social skills during the pandemic and the thought of going to university was daunting, it just didn't feel right. I did some research on the internet and found the apprenticeship. It's great - the staff are really friendly and supportive and it's everything I wanted. I'm more confident now than I ever was - I've been pushed out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. Every day is different, I get to work independently and I learn through researching. It's definitely the best experience I've had work or education-wise."
"It's hard sometimes to have the difficult conversations with people, when we can't help them and you do have to be very self-aware and sensitive. I have developed a lot of soft skills through training in areas such as well-being and resilience. I would love to stay on after my apprenticeship ends."
"To any young person leaving school who is not sure what to do I would say evaluate all your options. There are lots of options out there and you don't have to always listen to the route that has been right for someone else. You decide what you want to do but make sure you have support. For an apprenticeship, you need a supportive manager and a supportive college. You will have fun and you will learn skills and gain experience that full time education could never teach you."
David Rindle, Private Sector Team Leader at the department, said: "We just trust her to get on with it. She always does what she needs to do with a smile on her face. We've had apprentices previously and almost all of them have gone into permanent roles. It's a good investment for businesses as they can recruit young people who understand how the business works, have been trained by them so understand their processes and the benefit to them is four times what they have to put in."
Employer Services Quality Lead, Gemma Burgess, said: "Caitlyn started her apprenticeship in October 2021 Right from the beginning, she has remained on target with her college work. Caitlyn attends her progress reviews prepared and aware of the previous targets set and where she stands with these. From the first review, Caitlyn’s employer highlighted that she has far exceeded where they expected her to be. Other colleagues within the team, as well as team leaders, are regularly giving positive feedback about the work that Caitlyn does. By the second review Caitlyn had been recognised and congratulated on her level of outstanding work by the organisation. Recently Caitlyn’s training has seen her having some difficult conversations with customers. Her employer has highlighted how she handles these conversations well and in her own reflection Caitlyn spoke about her awareness of taking the right approach to these sensitive and very personal conversations. Caitlyn is taking all aspects of the apprenticeship in her stride. She is clearly a very valued member of the team and I have visions of her being very successful. I truly believe that Caitlyn deserves the ‘Apprenticeship of the Month’ award to recognise all of her hard work."
To find out more about how the College can help you as an employer or as someone looking for their next step go to our 'Apprenticeships' page.