I loved it so much, I did it again!

Shannon Watkins, Swarm Apprenticeships

Howdy ~ my name is Shannon, I am 21 years old and I am a new Swarm apprentice. My new job role is Operations Assistant.

Well so far I have constantly been enthralled by everybody’s enthusiasm to get things up and running and it has been quite exciting. I am glad to be in a training position again because I just feel that there is so much more that I need to learn. I also met Robert Ashton a couple of days ago, and first impressions…well, let’s just say that he is quite a character; someone with a quirky and spirited personality. Everybody here is kind of like that, really. This will make life working at Swarm much more interesting, yes indeedy.

Before I applied for the first apprenticeship I did, my perceptions of being an apprentice were very much outdated. In fact, when I thought of the word apprentice, a blacksmith came to mind… so you can probably imagine how surprising it was when I saw how many different ones there were and discovered what they were actually like.

So before I enrolled with Swarm, I thought that being an Enterprise apprentice would just be the same as any other apprenticeship role. But no, it is actually better in a lot of ways (not that my last one was rubbish, of course). I really enjoyed the last one and learnt a lot from it - I could have just got a normal job afterwards - but I chose to be a Swarm apprentice instead because it will give me the confidence to reach my potential, and do the maximum that I can do, not the least that I can get away with.

Well, it’s better than just sitting there doing nothing but converting oxygen into carbon dioxide until your boss gives you another mundane task to finish off, at least until they trust that you can do some of the more complicated stuff – which is understandable I suppose, but not really challenging enough.

Doing an apprenticeship then joining Swarm has also really opened my eyes, helped me to set goals for myself and the business, and given me more understanding as well – that you can’t just come out of some university and expect to be doing a high-powered job that will get you earning a huge amount of money. It just isn’t going to happen. Most employers these days want EXPERIENCED employees, so obviously it’s not good enough just to have a wealth of knowledge on a particular subject but not have a clue what you have to do when it comes to actually doing the job. So I also have the chance to get a good job that would usually be given to a highly-trained experienced expert before a university graduate. (It’s not that I’m against doing a university degree. It’s one of my future goals.)

My goals for the Swarm business within the next five years are to help raise awareness of the value of doing an apprenticeship, and of course the benefits. I would also like the business to find ways of supporting young people by using other means. Basically though, I would just like to help Swarm become a well-known organisation throughout the country.

My personal goals for me are to eventually pass my driving test, gain a thorough knowledge of the Swarm Apprenticeships business, complete the enterprise qualification, and as I mentioned earlier – start doing a degree with the Open University.

So, in conclusion… to any employers, please think about taking on an apprentice. To anyone who has just finished doing their GCSEs, their A-Levels, or perhaps just want a fresh start in life doing something else… I say go for an Apprenticeship, you won’t regret it - or at least think about it, because you would really be missing out on something great!

Shannon Watkins

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