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28th September 2020

We’re really proud of our alumni and everything they have gone onto achieve since leaving NSCG. We love to keep in touch and find out what they’re up to.

We recently chatted to Lauren Oakley who completed her Level 2 and 3 Customer Service apprenticeship from 2016-2018, while being employed by the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce.

Q: Which school did you go to?

A: I attended Holden Lane High School where I studied a range of subjects gaining grades A-C grades in English Literature/Language, maths, Science, Media Studies, RE, Art & Design, ICT, Humanities and Performing Arts. Performing Arts was by far my favourite subject, however I also enjoyed English and RE.

Q: Why did you choose to complete your apprenticeship at Newcastle College?

A: I chose to complete my Level 2 in Customer Service apprenticeship at Newcastle College, as it is a reputable organisation and I was not completely sure of the career path I wanted to go down after deciding not to go to university. The college was very persistent in helping me to find the right apprenticeship and they matched me with the Enterprise Apprenticeship. My motivation behind applying for this position was that I felt that I would be achieving a lot in the sense of a qualification, experience and potentially a job at the end of it. I would also be earning a salary which was a bonus. I liked the fact that all of my studying was done at work apart from my exams. An NVQ assessor would come into my organisation to set me work, and I was able to allocate time within my working day to complete set tasks.

The Enterprise Apprenticeship really stood out for me because I would be helping with all different projects including schools initiatives, events and training as part of my role at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. I also enjoyed the mixture of being in the office and having the opportunity to go out to events, schools and careers fairs.

Q: What did you enjoy most about studying here?

A: Most of my studying was completed alongside my work at the Chamber. My assessor from the college, Susan Reader was amazing. She was so approachable, helpful and down to earth and the support I received from her was brilliant. I only needed to attend college for exams, however when I did attend, I was impressed with the welcoming atmosphere and staff were always really helpful. Overall it was a great experience.

Q: What did you go on to do after your apprenticeship?

A: After I completed my apprenticeship, I was lucky enough to be taken on full time as the Events Assistant at the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. After completing my Level 2 NVQ in Customer Service, I then progressed to Level 3. I have worked at the Chamber for almost six years and I have had the opportunity to work my way up within the organisation in roles as Training Administrator, Training Co-ordinator and currently as Events and Support Co-ordinator.

Q: How would you like to see your career progressing?

A: In five years time, I would love to be in a face to face supervisory or management role. Due to COVID-19, my role has slightly changed as I was previously organising and attending events for the Chamber, most of which are currently delivered as webinars due to social distancing. I enjoy taking on new challenges and opportunities that come my way to gain as much experience as possible.

Q: Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment as part of your role?

A: I am currently working on the Staffordshire Chambers Business Awards, which will be an online event taking place on 19th November. The awards usually take place annually at Stafford County Showground, however, this year is the first year that it will be online. Another project I have been tasked with, is the organisation of the NexGen project, which is a yearly membership scheme for Apprentices. Members will receive access to monthly personal and professional events and workshops, helping them to become rounded employees.

Q: And the most notable achievement in your career so far?

A: My most notable achievement within my career would probably be when I had the opportunity to work with Hanley Job Centre delivering one-to-ones to job seekers. I was involved in offering them information on the Chamber’s Start Up Business Programme and referring them to our business advisors. I really enjoyed being part of potentially shaping someone’s future in a positive way.

Q: How did studying through Newcastle College help you get to progress within your organisation?

A: My apprenticeship was customer service based and therefore helped me with all aspects of my role, especially as I deal with people from different sectors and backgrounds. I would advise anyone who is taking up an apprenticeship to get gain as much experience as you can within different areas of your business. This will help your career prospects in the long term.

Q: If you had to sum up your time at NSCG in one sentence, what would it be?

A: A great experience, supportive tutors and a great atmosphere.

If you are inspired by Lauren's journey, take a look at our apprenticeships page on our website.

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