Case study: former apprentice Charlotte Nelson

Charlotte Nelson at an apprentice event in 2012

 Charlotte Nelson was looking for options other than university when her mum showed her information about apprenticeships at Winchester City Council.

Just three years later, Charlotte is a full-time member of staff in the Communications department, and has a Level 2 qualification in Business Administration. She also runs a popular beauty blog.

Here’s her story:

“Initially I applied for two apprenticeships, one as a rural development assistant and one in housing. I was called in for interview the day after results day and it was good to have the option as my grades weren’t what I had hoped for.

I’d had a couple of interviews before so I wasn’t too nervous. Ken Brown, current Rural Economy and Leader Programme Manager at Winchester City Council, and Jo Anderson, a member of the department at that time, asked me about issues like team working, confidentiality and social media. My lack of relevant experience wasn’t an issue and I was glad to have the chance to try for a role where that was the case.

I used to say to my friends, ‘you’re spending a lot of money every year of university, but I am earning almost the same amount to be trained and achieve a qualification’.

Apprenticeships are usually for a year or 18 months, and while I was working on mine, I completed my qualification, attending college for one day a week. I also went on lots of site visits to farms and shops so it was usually quite interesting.

Ken asked me about my future plans and when I told him I was interested in social media, he helped me to gain additional relevant experience. He also helped me develop my confidence by encouraging me to deliver speeches, which was something I had always been shy about.

A maternity cover post came up in Communications and I applied to be the assistant. I then gained additional experience in Sport before returning to Communications, where I am now a permanent member of the team.

I was really quiet when I started my apprenticeship but completing the additional activities on offer – including working with a food bank and clearing a garden – helped me to make some good friends and improved my confidence.

I’d recommend that anyone taking part in the scheme takes advantage of all that it has to offer, and to push yourself outside your comfort zone.

Being an apprentice introduced me properly to the world of work. My parents are really happy because university wasn’t really for me and this scheme has helped me to work out what I want to do with my future. “

Hampshire Apprentice Partnership currently has seven apprenticeships on offer. Log on to hampshirejobs.org.uk and search for Winchester.

Follow the official Winchester City Council Apprenticeships Twitter account @wccapprentices