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Image of Francesca Richards, Communications apprentice at the Gambling Commission

National Apprenticeship Week 2023

Last week was National Apprenticeship Week and I’m part of a small cohort of new starters here at the Gambling Commission who’ve chosen to start my career as an apprentice through a scheme launched by the Government Communications Service (GCS).

Posted 13 February 2023 by Francesca Richards

My experience so far

I’ve been at the Gambling Commission for a month now and as a Communications apprentice I’ve already learnt a lot about the job, the industry, and the culture. Since joining the team, it’s been a whirlwind - I’ve learnt so much already, not just about communications; but about my team, the Commission itself, and how our work really matters. I've also had the opportunity to assist in the organisation and participation of big events, which has helped me start to build a range of skills and gain first-hand experience, not only helping where needed, but witnessing all the elemental factors involved and seeing teamwork come alive.

It can be overwhelming and daunting at times, but it’s valuable first-hand experience of the real world of work. I’m gaining experience of a professional working environment, while being supported by a flexible work-life balance that other entry level pathways might not provide. As a young, single parent, it can feel like your options are limited, but the flexibility and income offered by an apprenticeship has reduced that fear.

Apprenticeships at the Commission

The Commission is also supporting different levels of apprenticeships with my colleagues; Helen Child, our Head of Governance, is completing the Master's degree equivalent of a Level 7 Apprenticeship in senior leadership and our Business Administration Apprentice, Lianne Seddon, is embarking on her career with the Governance team through a similar route to me. Having others in the organisation around me doing an apprenticeship not only means I have a good support network, but also means I have help from peers with the theoretical aspects of my placement.

It’s important to say that apprenticeships have traditionally been the hallmark of vocational careers. Momentum is, however, shifting and jobs in sectors typically accessible through higher education or a university qualification are now being made available for a more flexible workforce who prefer to earn while they learn.

While it’s early in my journey as an apprentice, I’m optimistic about developing my educational and career/life balance in the knowledge that at the end of my 18-month placement, I’ll have skills for life in a profession I’m excited about. I’m looking forward to the challenges and learning experiences in a supportive work environment that’ll ultimately help me succeed.

To learn more about National Apprenticeship Week, you can go to their website (opens in new tab).

About the author

Francesca Richards is the Commission’s new Communications apprentice working within the Communications Team.

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