National Apprenticeship Week 2024: An insight into our apprentices

Tasmiyah Tarawish Marketing Executive

To help celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2024, we reached out to our very own apprentices here at Mindful Education to find out about their experiences of apprenticeships: 

Paul McSweeney – Senior Finance Assistant

TT: Hi Paul, to start off, can you tell me a bit about why you chose to do an apprenticeship?

PM: My journey with Mindful Education started back in 2021, when I started an AAT Level 4 apprenticeship within the finance team. Working with my tutor at Train Together, I completed the Online and On Campus apprenticeship and was offered a permanent position within Mindful Education – which I accepted!

My decision to move into the world of accounting was driven by the desire for a career change – at the time I was working in security at Gatwick Airport. An apprenticeship seemed like an ideal opportunity to make a transition between careers, as I was able to continue with my accounting studies whilst earning a salary straight away. 

“I was able to apply to my role within the finance team, which meant I was pretty much contributing from the get-go. I found myself quickly taking personal accountability for managing workloads, meeting deadlines and prioritising key tasks.”

Paul Mcsweeney - Senior Finance Assistant

TT: And why do you think an apprenticeship is a great way to learn?

PM: The on-the-job experience I received working at Mindful Education was really helpful when it came to my studies. I also felt that any knowledge I gained from the apprenticeship itself, I was able to apply to my role within the finance team. I was pretty much contributing from the get-go, and found myself quickly taking personal accountability for managing workloads, meeting deadlines and prioritising key tasks. 

I found that studying through blended learning really worked for me. I had one day off from work each week to watch tutorials, learn new concepts and prepare for exams. I felt the flexibility of a blended study method meant I could make more progress and complete my apprenticeship. 

TT: What did you enjoy most about your apprenticeship?

PM: For me personally, it was the personal and professional development I received. The apprenticeship has allowed me to become AAT qualified, which in turn led to me receiving a promotion and progressing within our team. 

I also loved being able to use the skills and knowledge from my job, and applying them to areas of study. Using the Virtual Learning Environment throughout the apprenticeship was also great, as it was interactive, analytical, and helped greatly with passing exams. 

TT: What did you enjoy most about your apprenticeship?

PM: For me personally, it was the personal and professional development I received. The apprenticeship has allowed me to become AAT qualified, which in turn led to me receiving a promotion and progressing within our team. 

I also loved being able to use the skills and knowledge from my job, and applying them to areas of study. Using the Virtual Learning Environment throughout the apprenticeship was also great, as it was interactive, analytical, and helped greatly with passing exams. 

The apprenticeship worked really well as a means of introducing Paul to a full-time finance role whilst allowing him to continue his technical studies. Paul always contributed enormously to the team and has been a key member – it certainly never felt like he was unavailable or ‘out studying’.

As an employer, the whole process of arranging Paul’s apprenticeship and seeing it through to completion was really straightforward. We have had such a positive experience overall with Paul and the skills and energy he brings to our team. Now that he’s finished his apprenticeship we’re really keen to keep encouraging his development and couldn’t imagine the team without him.

Ed Whittle, Head of Finance

If you are an employer interested in finding out more our flexible, professional apprenticeships, visit our employers page, here

If you are a learner interested in finding out more about doing an apprenticeship, visit the apprenticeships page on our website to find out more, here.

Salka Dar – Marketing Assistant Apprentice

TT: Hi Salka! Please can you tell me a bit about your apprenticeship, and why you chose to do it?

SD: Of course! I am currently studying a Level 3 apprenticeship within the Mindful Education marketing team. 

The main reason I chose to do an apprenticeship was because I wanted an alternative route to going to university, one with more hands-on experience and a practical way of studying. I normally spend one day a week studying, where I focus on completing coursework and logging all the off-the-job tasks I’ve done for that week. It also gives me the chance to catch up with my tutor Georgie at Weston College. 

“I get to develop lots of different skills that are needed in the workplace, including communicating with external partners, collaborating with a range of people, and being able to lead on certain projects.”

TT: Why do you think an apprenticeship is a great way to learn?

SD: I get to develop lots of different skills that are needed in the workplace, including communicating with external partners, collaborating with a range of people, and being able to lead on certain projects. 

I am already contributing loads to my team, especially with planning social media strategies. My work at Mindful also ties in and supports my coursework. 

TT: What do you enjoy most about the apprenticeship?

SD: I feel like I have achieved a lot already and I’ve been told I’m doing extremely well in the apprenticeship programme.

I also feel like my tutor and my manager recognise and appreciate my progress, help guide me and ensure I am working to my full potential. I think the environment at Mindful Education encourages learning and it’s a great place to work as it values apprenticeships and acknowledges how impactful they can be to our society and workforce. 

Working with Salka and supporting her through her apprenticeship has been a really rewarding experience as her manager. I am so impressed by how quickly she has progressed and how much she has contributed to the team over the past year.

I had never managed an apprentice before, so I wasn’t sure what would be required from myself. However Weston College, especially Salka’s tutor Georgie, have been so helpful and proactive in explaining exactly what admin needs doing, how the off-the-job requirement works, and most importantly of all, how we can best support Salka in achieving her qualification.

Holly Wilson, Senior Marketing Manager

If you are an employer interested in finding out more our flexible, professional apprenticeships, visit our employers page, here

If you are a learner interested in finding out more about doing an apprenticeship, visit the apprenticeships page on our website to find out more, here.

Posted on: 2 February 2024