Q&A with Leah: Life as a NFER apprentice

By Rosie Clemo

Thursday 6 February 2020

This week, we are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week (3 – 9 February 2020); an initiative designed to encourage businesses across the UK to celebrate their apprentices.

This is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the positive impact the apprentices at NFER have had during our successful apprenticeship programme, which has been running for five years. We are proud to support an initiative that recognises and celebrates the success of young people and the variety of pathways they take. 


Leah Carpenter, apprentice

In this blog post, we sit down with Leah, who is six months into her Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship. Leah joined NFER as an apprentice at just 17 years old – but age doesn’t stop her from being an inspiring force to be reckoned with. Always buzzing with energy, she has quickly impressed her colleagues with her strong work ethic and can-do attitude…

Hi Leah! Tell us why you chose to do an apprenticeship…
Originally, I went to college to study make-up, but I didn’t enjoy it; there was no proper routine and it felt very disorganised. I started to explore other options and after weeks of research, I discovered apprenticeships. I love to be proactive and organised, so it suited me much better.

Why NFER?
I was really interested in working for an education charity, and I think the goal of NFER is cracking! I am passionate about education because I didn’t have a very good one; my particular teachers weren’t very supportive as I wasn’t very academic. I’d like to do my bit to make education better if I can.

What is your job as an apprentice?
My main role is to support the team. I go through enquiries, research events, book rooms, organise meetings and take minutes. The research team is huge, so there’s always so much going on.

I really love my job and the team I work with. I like making a difference and feel like my job here has a big impact on people.

How has this apprenticeship helped to develop you professionally?
I’m definitely more confident in working in different roles and feel more empowered. I’ve also improved my problem-solving skills heaps.

What would you say to a young person thinking about an apprenticeship?
Go for it! As an apprentice, you’re learning every day, but also you do coursework, so you gain contextual knowledge. Plus you get that golden experience that employers look for, as you can demonstrate you’re a hard worker and can positively impact the organisation.

Why did you choose the apprenticeship route?
Money was a big issue for me. I didn’t want to go into university and come out potentially without a job and all that debt. I wanted to jump into the real world and show people what I can do.

What does the future hold?
I want to be a project manager in the future. I’m very driven to be successful and believe you shouldn’t waste the good time you have to do something with your life – use your time wisely!