Olivia: Associate Project Manager Level 4

Published : Wed 24th Jan

After leaving University Olivia had various roles before realising she enjoyed organising and co-ordinating and was pleased to discover she could get an apprenticeship role doing this at the National Trust.

Why did you first choose to apply for an apprenticeship?

After leaving university and undertaking a few different roles, I realised that I really enjoyed the coordinative aspects of what I was doing, but wanted to apply this to a role where I could develop these skills further in a field that I was passionate about. I came across this project management apprenticeship and felt that it was the perfect next step; being able to gain a qualification whilst helping to deliver tangible change within an organisation that aligned with my own values felt like something that would be both rewarding and a great challenge.

Best thing about the apprenticeship?

The best thing about the apprenticeship has been the variety of project work I have been able to get involved with. From conservation, to creating accessible path networks, to construction projects, the breadth of areas which project management within the Trust covers has been great in both leaning into my interests while also discovering new areas of opportunity I might not had previously considered. Another fantastic thing is being able to work alongside such a variety of people. Being able to shadow, work alongside and learn from colleagues who carry such a wealth of knowledge and advice has really been the driving force to my learning experience within the apprenticeship.

Any challenges?

Scheduling my time to allow for an effective work-study balance. As with any apprenticeship, balancing your responsibilities alongside your apprenticeship requirements can be a challenge, especially as there is a large volume of assignments within the course. However, the support I have received from my line managers and wider team has been really helpful in finding this balance in order to be able to deliver my best work in both areas.

Have you done anything that you didn't expect whilst on your apprenticeship?

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started my apprenticeship. However, gearing up in a hard hat and a high vis jacket and climbing up into the roof of a 300-year-old building to look for signs of bats within the first week definitely wasn’t on the list! From climbing clocktowers to newt surveying, it’s been a great journey of unexpected but exciting challenges ever since.

How has the training provider/college supported you?

The training provider and tutor have been great in providing one-to-one support of any queries or further questions I have relating to the course or examinations, or even just to provide me with confidence that I am on the right track with my submissions or understanding of the requirements. They’ve also been really accommodating in creating a flexible submission schedule where possible – working around my calendar to rearrange assignments in order submit pieces of work which are more relevant to the tasks I’m working on at the time.

What are your plans for the future?

I would love to continue working in project management, ideally within an environment like the National Trust. From here, I would like to build upon my experience and skills gained within this role and apply these to new challenges, and, hopefully, eventually lead on delivering large scale projects.

Any advice for anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship?

My advice to anybody considering an apprenticeship would be to go for it! Being an apprentice is a uniquely positioned role where you’re able to study and develop new skills and apply these within a guided working position as you learn. Doing this apprenticeship has really encouraged me to challenge myself, expanded my horizons on what I would like to explore within my career, and put me in great stead to delve into the world of project management.