Admin apprentice Harry earns while he learns

Seventeen-year-old Harry Haines, who lives in Blaby village just outside Leicester, has found his Level 2 Business and Administration apprenticeship a great alternative to A-Levels.

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Swapping A-Levels for an apprenticeship

Harry, who is a Document Services Apprentice for leading social housing provider Stonewater in Leicester, explains: “I did well with my GCSEs, but quickly realised that A-Levels weren’t for me, so after a few months I dropped out and started looking at apprenticeships. I was looking at various different types but realised that business administration would be great as it offered lots of transferable skills.

“I found Stonewater’s apprenticeship on the .gov website and thought it looked interesting because it was involved with social housing. There was quite a lot in the description that I thought sounded like me – like having a keen eye for detail and being organised.”

Harry started his apprenticeship, which is run through external training provider CHS (Centre for Housing and Support), in February last year. “In document services we do a variety of things, so I never get bored. We receive all of Stonewater’s post which we sort and scan and then upload onto an e-post system and send out to the right person. We also book train tickets for staff members going to meetings and conferences and print out letters and documents for residents.”

Support from Stonewater

Harry spends five days a week in the Leicester office and has regular visits from his CHS assessor: “I do have to do coursework as part of the apprenticeship and Stonewater gives me allocated time each week to get it done during work hours. My Stonewater managers have been really supportive at answering questions, as well as allowing me to look into finding out the answers on my own.”

Harry’s apprenticeship is 14 months long and will end next month (April). “I think this job has helped me improve my team skills and has helped me integrate with different kinds of people. It’s also been a good way of getting used to conducting myself in a work situation, like learning how to write business emails and such, which at first, I had no idea how to do.

“Apprentices can be a really good choice, depending on your circumstances. In my case, I had realised that A-Levels were just not for me – I was just not enjoying it – and I wasn’t planning to go to university.” For Harry, the apprenticeship offered him a second option which he’s very glad he took. As he explains: “Apprenticeships are great because you’re learning and earning at the same time.”