A chance encounter with one of the London South East Apprenticeship Company’s recruitment advisors has led 16-year-old Olivia into her first full-time job with Lewisham-based estate agency - Mark Beaumont Ltd.
Just months ago, Olivier from Rotherhithe, reluctantly set about studying for A levels at her school’s sixth form centre after being undecided about her future. It was at a school careers fair that she came across the Company’s stall and signed-up to its ‘Apprenticeship Talent Bank’. Within just two months, Olivia received a call that would change her life.
Olivia says:“I really didn’t want to stay on at school, and I had no intention of going to university either; it just wasn’t me. I simply wanted to leave and find a job that I would enjoy. To be honest, I wasn’t really hopeful that I would find something that would be interesting as well as offering me training and qualifications. When I met Luke at the careers fair, he told me about the apprenticeship route and gave me the opportunity to sign up to a talent bank. I wrote in my GCSE results and the subjects and careers that I was interested in and then pressed ‘enter’.
“I didn’t think I’d hear anything and soon forgot about it. Last October, I was contacted and asked if I might be interested in going for an interview with a local property management, lettings and sales firm. I jumped at the chance.
“Luke helped me prepare for it by giving me CV writing skills and interview training. He was very helpful. Days later and there I was, sat in my very first job interview and chatting away about my goals and ambitions, the things I’d learnt at school and why I was interested in the job. I was very nervous but the people interviewing me made me feel very comfortable and were really nice.
"On finding out I’d been successful - yes, I got the job, I couldn’t stop smiling. I’ve now been here, working in Mark’s team, for the past five months and I’m still smiling. It’s a brilliant job; I work for an amazing company who have treated me very well from day one.”
Olivia’s employer and line manager is Mark Beaumont. He says: “I was a little reluctant at taking on somebody straight from school. There were very few employment opportunities back when I was 16 and it was very difficult to get a break in any meaningful career without spending years in further and higher education. When I met Olivia at her interview I was extremely impressed at how well prepared she was. She was chatty, pleasant, confident and I knew immediately she would fit in well.
“Olivia’s role here is to take part in a wide range of different duties that include customer and client services, managing enquiries, preparing floor plans and putting together written content and appropriate imagery for brochures, website pages and much more. She absorbs information immediately and I think she’s surprised even herself by how much she has learnt in just five months. She works hard for everyone in the team and I have no doubts that she will make a brilliant professional estate agent one day if that’s what she wants to be.”
As part of the apprenticeship programme Olivia is working towards, she is also studying for a Business Administration NVQ Level 2 qualification. She does this by distance learning and is visited regularly by an assessor to ensure her on-the-job training and course work are both relevant and beneficial.
If you think you have what it takes to become a professional in the business, retail or commercial industries, we’d like to hear from you. We have a great range of courses and apprenticeship opportunities to get you started. Come along to one of our open events.