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Marianna explains how an apprenticeship at Travis Perkins got her excited for the future

03 Dec

Apprenticeships are an opportunity for people with any experience level to gain essential skills and develop a career. The Travis Perkins Group offers 38 “Learn and Earn” Apprenticeship Programmes (LEAP), and each one is designed so that you have support from day one. We spoke to Marianna who completed her Managing a Team – Level 3 Apprenticeship in 2020 and who was highly commended in The BAME Apprenticeship Awards 2020 to hear what the apprenticeship has meant to her. Here’s what she has to say:

What first attracted you to the programme?

I love learning and I gain a lot of my confidence through knowledge. I didn’t know Travis Perkins offered apprenticeship programmes, but I saw the LEAP stand at a supplier conference, took a leaflet home and was instantly drawn to the Managing a Team programme. Despite having four years of management experience before joining the Group, I’d always doubted myself and wondered if I was worthy of a manager’s status. I knew the programme would be the perfect opportunity for me to gain skills and knowledge, but more importantly to build up my confidence.

How have you been supported throughout the programme and beyond?

Right from the beginning of the programme I had an Apprenticeship Coach - someone who would mark my work but who I’d also check in with, come to for advice and go over what I’d learnt. The first few months were all about getting my head around what was expected of me and how the programme works but over time I came to see my mentor, Ben, as my own personal cheerleader. His support has been invaluable and though we had official catch-ups every month, he made me feel like I could contact him any time. Since completing my course, Ben has kept in regular contact and he has supported my interest in joining the training team, helping to get my name out there in the professional world.

On the programme, I had regular meetings with my manager – our Regional Director, Richard – where we’d discuss what I had learnt and he’d share his feedback on my work. He took great pleasure in watching me gain knowledge and confidence, and always gave me honest advice about how I can improve.

How has the programme set you up for success?

I'm due to start working on the Kickstart team soon where I’ll be coaching new starters during their first six months at Travis Perkins and teaching them employable skills. Teaching people is a huge passion of mine and if weren’t for the apprenticeship programme I don’t know how I would have found this opportunity. Setting off on this new career path makes me very excited for the future!

What has been your proudest moment since working with Travis Perkins?

Not only passing, but getting a distinction in my apprenticeship. This achievement was all me. I never considered myself good at taking exams but the work I put into my coursework and revision paid off and I came out with the highest grade on the course. One of the greatest lessons I’ve taken from the past few years is that I should be innovative, and try new things. For example, I made a Kitchen Designer induction guide which was then distributed across the whole company. Our Managing Director personally commended me for this work and it’s great to receive this recognition.

How does it feel to be a Highly Commended Apprentice with the BAME Apprenticeship Award?

Being highly commended for my work has made me very proud, especially as I have been recognised across the business and the awarding body, BAME. It's the icing on the cake, and ends my rewarding, educational experience perfectly.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of enrolling on an apprenticeship?

Go for it! It can be tough managing your time between your job and the course but you get so much support from your mentor, so you never feel like you’re venturing into the unknown. You also learn so much about yourself, and having an apprenticeship on your CV can open so many doors. If I had to give a summary of my top tips for succeeding on an apprenticeship programme, here’s what it would be: 

Choose the right course for you

Do your research, speak to people who have done the course and make sure it will both develop and challenge you.

Dedicate time to it

You will need to take time out each month to focus on the pre-work and coursework. I found that being consistent and dedicating at least one day a month to the programme helped me stay on top of everything.

Use your mentor

My mentor’s support was a cornerstone of my success. Plus, their knowledge and experience are simply invaluable. Their job is to help and support you, so even if you find it difficult to ask for help, remember that they are your lifeline.

Take the LEAP with Travis Perkins

If you’re passionate about learning and are ready for a challenge then we want to hear from you. Since our first apprenticeship programme in 2017, we’ve overhauled our strategy, mapping out a full career path for our colleagues who graduate. Explore our apprenticeships and find out how LEAP will allow you to realise your full potential.

Our commitment to ensuring our programmes are designed with your career in mind resulted in us being announced Employer of the Year at The BAME Apprenticeship Awards for the Retail, Hospitality and Tourism category. This was a great success for the LEAP team who are now also a Highly Commended Macro Employer thanks to the National Apprenticeship Awards. We look forward to welcoming more people onto our programmes. 

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