Q&A with Adam: Life as a NFER apprentice

By Cat Finlayson

Monday 4 March 2019

Q&A with Adam: Life as a NFER apprentice

This week, we are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week (4 to 8 March 2019) – an annual week designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. We are proud to be part of this fantastic initiative.

At NFER, our aim is for all young people to make a successful transition from education to employment. We launched our apprenticeship programme in 2015 and have recruited up to three full-time apprentices each year.

In this blog post, Adam Toubal, one of our Business Administration Apprentices shares his experience of being an NFER apprentice.

Why did you apply to become an apprentice here at NFER?
When I got to the end of my time at school, after a lot of thought, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to do an apprenticeship.  I did a lot of research and decided I wanted to study business administration. Through the apprenticeship agency QA, I gained my place here at NFER.

For me, doing an apprenticeship appealed to me as I will gain a university like qualification without falling into any debt. The idea of debt seemed quiet daunting to me and put me off the university route. In addition, you gain a lot of hands on work experience while learning, which most employers look for on top of the qualification you receive. So for me it was a clear choice.

Why did you choose business administration for your apprenticeship – what interests you in that area?
When I was doing my research around business administration, I realised that I could gain a lot of new knowledge as well as build on skills I have already acquired that are necessary for going on to the chartered manager degree apprenticeship. However, even with that in mind, business administration opens doors to many jobs so it’s not tying me down to one particular career path which I think is a great bonus.

What does your day-to-day role involve?
On a day-to-day basis, my position as an apprentice with NFER allows me to be involved with the various departments across the Foundation so I have an opportunity to learn a lot about what goes on in each team. So far, I have worked in the Marketing and Communications team, the Research and Operations team and I’m now working with the Finance team learning about our finance processes.

Additionally, 20 per cent of my apprenticeship time is dedicated to coursework that is all done on an online QA programme. There are regular deadlines to meet and my QA tutor meets me here at NFER around every four weeks to ensure I’m on the right track and that I’m meeting all the requirements.

What skills have you learned so far?
Having been an apprentice for almost five months now and working within different departments, I have gained quite a few skills. From learning how an event is planned and organised to carrying out financial processes including processing invoices, it’s been exciting learning new skills. I’ve still got many other things to learn.

Watching experienced employees carry out daily tasks has allowed me to improve how I perform at work. A key aspect is learning different communication skills, especially when to pick up the phone and have a conversation or to send an email. Having worked in three departments I am comfortable talking to people in different roles and have built positive relationships with many colleagues.

What do you like most about your job?
One of the things I like most about my job here at NFER is that it’s very flexible, allowing me to work in different departments and therefore expanding and developing my work experiences. This keeps me both interested and motivated to keep learning and progressing as a young apprentice. It also allows me to try out different work routes giving me a good insight into other career opportunities I may not have known or thought about. I feel like I now have a very good insight into what I want and don’t want to do in the future.

Do you have any tips or advice for new apprentices?
If there’s one bit of advice I would give to new starters, it is that it’s a good idea to save all the work you do, whether it’s done on your computer or on paper. This is important as it’s all evidence you can use later in your coursework. The more evidence you have the more you can write about. This makes it easier to create links between different tasks and, overall, provides you with a better opportunity to gain a higher mark in your apprenticeship course.


What are your plans for the future?
So far I’m loving my current apprenticeship role, so I hope to continue down this route and complete a degree apprenticeship as a chartered manager. From there, I would like to try and get into a management role for a well-recognised company.

If the degree apprenticeship role isn’t available then I’ll most likely still go into a Level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager apprenticeship which will still offer me many career opportunities in the same field of work I would like to go into.

If you are interested in being taken on as an NFER apprentice, sign up to our job alerts and we will let you know when we are hiring.