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Louisa's story

Learning & Development Administrator

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After completing my A-Levels, I was unsure about what I wanted to do after I left college. I had an A-Level in Business Studies so decided to look for an apprenticeship to gain some practical experience. I soon found an apprenticeship at Look Ahead in Business Administration.

I hadn’t heard of Look Ahead before, nor did I have much knowledge of the social care sector in general. But after reading about Look Ahead and the work that they do with people, I thought it would be an interesting and rewarding organisation to be a part of so I applied.

I joined as a Business Administration Apprentice in our Learning and Development Team. My main responsibilities were booking staff on training course, taking calls and the general administration of the department. I hadn’t had much experience before, but I had the opportunity to learn as I went along. It was immediately clear to me that I would always be supported in this role, not just from my manager but from my colleagues around me. Even though I was an apprentice, I was treated just like a ‘regular’ member of staff. I was invited to attend organisational events and sit in on meetings to have a wider understanding of what we do.

Before joining Look Ahead I was quite shy, but this apprenticeship has allowed me to grow my communication skills and build my confidence. I would have weekly one-to-one sessions with my manager who would give me great feedback on the work I was doing and suggested how I could improve.

It was great to have that positive reinforcement and be given targets to help my progression, whilst being supported in achieving them.

I was also given the chance to visit some of our services observing their quality audits, and attend some of Look Ahead’s ‘Experts by Experience’ training sessions, where customers and staff with lived experience train support staff. I found these really interesting, plus, they gave me more understanding of the wider work we do and how my role fits into this.

As I came towards the end of my apprenticeship I was offered a full time position as Learning & Development Administrator. I was delighted to accept the position and continue my development with the organisation. Look Ahead really is a big community and encourages progression from their staff. Your individual skills are always taken into consideration and your development plan is based around that, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Since taking the full-time position, I have continued to grow and learn new skills. Working in this team has given me an insight into the world of HR and I’ve realised it’s something I would like to pursue. Recognising this, my manager put me forward for a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) course which I have been able to do alongside my role. It can be challenging at times balancing assignments alongside work hours, but my colleagues have always been accommodating and have helped me along the way.

I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship at Look Ahead. My experience shows there are many different opportunities to develop within the organisation and it will give you the skills and confidence to build a career in the future. I feel like I have a clearer vision of what I want to achieve and Look Ahead has been a huge contributor to that. I’m really grateful for the opportunity I’ve had.

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