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Career Stories: Kaitlin’s Apprenticeship Opportunity

Sometimes when you’re searching for a job it’s hard to know where to begin.

We often tell young people the most important thing to do is just start. Finding your future career might feel like searching for a needle in a haystack… but it doesn’t have to be! There is nothing wrong with trying things to see what you enjoy.

Apprentice, Kaitlin, is an excellent example of this so we wanted to share her story with you…

Finding an Opportunity

My name is Kaitlin, I work for Inspire Suffolk and have done since I was 16.

A little bit of a backstory: I am now 19 and have been working for Inspire Suffolk since I left school. I went to Alde Valley Academy in Leiston and was an extremely sporty student, but I wasn’t the most academically gifted. As someone who struggled with dyslexia, I knew that when I left school, I would enjoy something that involved sport, but I didn’t particularly want to go to college. 

As the end of year 11 approached, I started to look for further education and came across a Sports Coaching Apprenticeship with Inspire Suffolk. This was something that I really liked the sound of and thought I would be good at, so I applied for it.

To understand how the charity works, I did some training and work experience during the summer holiday after I’d left school; I supported the team with holiday camps and other programmes that were running at the time. After this, I went through the interview process and was told I was successful.

Discovering New Interests

My apprenticeship was a 30-hour contract which was filled with sports coaching as well as a day each week of academic studies (the studying helped me complete the qualifications that came along with the apprenticeship). During my first year, I mainly worked in primary schools supporting lead coaches but also helped on education courses.

I really enjoyed my first year at Inspire and it taught me a lot, not only about the qualification but about work and it also taught me a lot about myself. I learnt about how I worked best, what I was capable of and how I could do things in school I never thought I would be able to do. Plus, I was able to improve on skills such as teamwork, communication and, most importantly, it improved my confidence. During my first year, I was always seen as the quiet shy apprentice but towards the end, my confidence had improved so much, and I was offered a second-year apprenticeship.

For my second year, I was offered the chance to support the team at one of the new centres that we had just set up in Lowestoft. This meant that my contracted hours went up to 37.5 and my wage also increased. This role was unexpected and offered the chance to help with admin and support the centre manager with any little jobs he had. I was chosen for this role as they were impressed with my work ethic. At first, I was sceptical of this role as I always thought that I only wanted a job position focused on sport but I accepted so I could see if I enjoyed it and whether it was something maybe I could get into.

As time went on, it turned out this was something that I really enjoyed doing! The team that I was working with were extremely supportive and taught me what I needed to know. I did a whole year of working in both sports and admin as an apprentice. I enjoyed both sides of this but after doing something I thought I would never enjoy, I actually found I enjoyed it more than the sport.

As the end of my second year was coming to a close I was hoping and waiting to find out if I would be offered a job or if I’d have to look elsewhere. The day came and I was offered a role as a trainee administrator, continuing my work with the Lowestoft centre but taking on a new role working with the Youth Employment Service as a large part of my contract. It was, again, a massive change to me and I had no idea if this is something I would enjoy. Regardless of that, I took the offer and now, to this day, work as that trainee administrator with Inspire Suffolk.

It’s very strange how things have worked out for me but I’m so glad they went the way they did. I love the work that I do now supporting those through YES and helping the centre in Lowestoft.

Kaitlin’s Tips for Apprentices

From me to you, here are five tips for anyone going into apprenticeships:

  1. Believe in yourself: It’s so important. After all, it will work in your favour in the end.
  2. Be the best that you can be: trying your best goes a long way!
  3. Be kind: Being kind creates positivity in the workplace.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: asking questions will massively help you in what you are doing.
  5. Never be afraid to try something new: if I never tried something new, I wouldn’t ever have been in the position I’m in now.

Starting work for Inspire Suffolk was one of the best decisions I ever made. They have helped to develop me as a person and shown me that I can do things that I never deemed possible. I now believe in myself more than I ever did and have been able to help others who may have been like me and had no idea what they wanted to do.

I’m extremely grateful for everything that they’ve done for me, and I look forward to furthering my career and supporting and helping anyone who has gone through anything similar to me.

If, like Kaitlin, you think you could benefit from an apprenticeship, book an appointment with one of our job coaches here.