Harriet Clifton, 20, is completing her Level 3 Customer Services apprenticeship at Devizes based Aster Group; landlord and developer of new homes. Aster Group build homes for open market sale and shared ownership, and reinvest their profits into developing the business, its people and local communities.

We asked Harriet about her decision to undertake an apprenticeship and how her past experiences bought her to this point.

I attended Sixth Form and studied A-Level; English Language, PE and Double Health & Social Care. My school mostly promoted the University offer, but apprenticeships had been mentioned a little bit. When I left school, I wasn’t sure where to look, I secured a part time job at a local pub which I did for a few months. It was my parents who came to me with the idea of doing an apprenticeship – they told me how I could learn and earn! I am lucky that my parents are able to help support me financially whilst I undertake this year of training, for example I am still living at home with them.

How does your apprenticeship work and what would you say are the benefits?

I have worked in a call operator role and am currently in an administrative role which means I have varied experiences as well as gaining experience via job shadowing which allows me to see other parts of the business and meet new customers and most recently I went out with the hostel co-ordinator. I have an assessor who comes out to the business to see me, they set me assignments which I do during work time, I am given enough time by Aster, I don’t have to work on assignments at home. I send these away for review, when the assessor visits I receive feedback and can ask any questions.

What are your plans once you finish your apprenticeship and what advice would you give to others?

I will be finishing my apprenticeship in two months’ time, I currently only have one assignment left to complete – which I am proud of finishing ahead of time! I am actively looking for new roles and I would like to use the skills I have acquired and my Health and Social Care qualification to gain a role within community engagement. My advice would be that an apprenticeship is definitely worthwhile. Whilst a lot of employers want experience when your applying for jobs, apprenticeship roles understand that you don’t always have that experience and it gives you a chance to learn and progress. This role has allowed me to develop new skills for example talking to people on the phone and handling conflict, it has also given me financial independence to allow me to pay for a holiday!!

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