As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2021, Commercial Apprentice, Mia Nichol tells us about her time so far with BEL Engineering and her future plans…

When did you start your apprenticeship?

I began my commercial apprenticeship in December 2019. I decided to leave my A Levels and go down the apprenticeship route instead.

Why did you chose to do a commercial apprenticeship?

After spending a year doing A Levels, I came to the conclusion that they simply weren’t for me. Commercial apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular and well sought after by employers as many apprentices go on to have a career and ultimately grow with the company. I find this puts you in a more advantageous position compared to those who have no work experience, and are not known to the company. Although individuals who have been to college or university may have higher qualifications, they won’t necessarily have the required work experience, whereas someone who has completed their apprenticeship will already be trained in the role.

What are your main roles within the business?

I mainly work in sales, working closely with customers and suppliers. Recently, I have begun working in different departments within the business, ranging from marketing to quality. It gives me the opportunity to see how orders move through the business, from the first enquiry, all the way to the finished product leaving the door.

How has your job role developed?

My role has developed dramatically since I started. At first I only worked in sales, completing quotations for customers and doing general filing. Unfortunately, when COVID-19 hit back in March, I was furloughed for almost 3 months, which meant I could not develop my role.

When I returned from furlough at the end of May, I quickly picked up work from other departments. Over time, I started working across many aspects of the business, which has greatly benefitted my work experience and means I can help with the department that needs me at the time.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the marketing department taking part in the rebranding and website development projects. Being appointed the Brand Ambassador has given me a level of responsibility that I may not have gained from another apprenticeship. Additionally, I’ve been trained to edit the company website, and with this have begun to create content for the site and company LinkedIn page where I can create posts and keep in touch with potential customers.

What do you enjoy most about your commercial apprenticeship?

The thing I enjoy most about the apprenticeship is the opportunities I am given. Being able to work closely with the CEO and other colleagues who have influential roles within the business gives me a level of experience that I would have never obtained from college. I feel as though I am seen as an equal and not just given the easy jobs because I’m an apprentice.

What do you find most challenging?

As previously mentioned, I have not been given the easy route just because I’m an apprentice. Whilst this is a challenge, it can be stressful at times when there’s a large amount of work moving through the business.

Being expected to learn fast can also be daunting, but I have always been the type of person who faces a challenge head on and doesn’t back down. I enjoy the pressure, and in the end, it makes me a better employee. Although taking on new tasks can be nerve-wracking, it has greatly increased my confidence and self-assurance. It’s been great to see myself grow throughout the past year, and I feel as though I’m now ready to take on whatever comes my way.

What are your future plans upon completion of your apprenticeship?

I hope to remain on with the business. I’d like to grow up the ranks, and hopefully one day, see myself in a management role. Being experienced in a number of departments means I can decide which role I’d eventually like to develop further as well as what sort of role I prefer. I plan to complete my apprenticeship this summer, and continue to add new experiences to my CV.

Find out more about an apprenticeship with British Engines.