Ever wondered what it’s like to work at the Welsh Government? To celebrate #ApprenticeshipWeek, we’ve interviewed one of our apprentices to give you a taste of what it’s like…
Our apprenticeships vary across different schemes, from digital and technology, to finance and business. They are based in a host of different departments right throughout government, giving you an opportunity to learn while you train and develop your skills in a workplace unlike any other in Wales.
If you want to find out more, keep reading! And if you find you’d be interested in applying, click here to find out about the different apprenticeship schemes on offer this year.
Hi Megan! Can you tell us a little bit about you, your background and what attracted you to apply for an apprenticeship here?
I’m 23 years old and I live in a small village in West Wales called Pontrhydfendigaid. I enjoy an active lifestyle by running when I can and taking Pippin, my miniature dachshund, for walks. I’m very lucky to live in an area rich with public footpaths and breath-taking views, including the pride of the village – Ystrad Fflur Abbey. But my favourite hobby of all involves leaving home altogether. In 2022 I managed to visit 5 different countries in Europe with my partner. Learning about culture, history and heritage is a real passion of mine – and not forgetting eating the local food!
When I completed sixth form, I had no idea what I wanted to do so I delved into the world of retail at 18, closely followed by a short stint as a pharmacy advisor and prescription clerk. With no clear vision on where I saw my career going within these areas, I felt the need to have a change in direction. I knew some people who worked in Welsh Government, and I had always been interested by the array of things Welsh Government do as an organisation. When they said the apprenticeship scheme was on the recruitment site, I knew I had to apply.
Where are you based and what do you do?
I’m based at our office in Aberystwyth, and though I mainly work from home I still try to get to the office at least once a week to meet up with people and build my personal networks. I work in Business Marketing, assisting the team to attract businesses to come to Wales and showcase Wales across the world as the place to come and do business.
Much of my time is spent providing support for my team. This could be assisting colleagues when corresponding with external stakeholders, setting up meetings, preparing and storing documents. I work closely with my line manager, who is the Business-to-Business Events Manager. I assist her with her work across strategic priorities to provide complete event management including identifying, developing, and delivering events that promote Wales as a business destination. I also create social media posts for the Trade and Invest accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
How have you found your journey in the Welsh Government as an apprentice so far?
My journey so far has been really positive. In my first week my manager and I attend an event in London which was really exciting. I loved the flexibility I had that week to fit the important work we do alongside apprenticeship week activities. I’ve met some lovely people, especially my team who have put me at ease while helping me understand the world of Welsh Government – which can sometimes be a challenging mix of ‘close of plays’, with a sprinkle of ‘OAQ’s’ and ‘WAQ’s’.
I’ve found that everyone is friendly, and everyone wants to help me succeed, which coming from a retail environment I was surprised by. It has given me a sense of security I’d never felt before. I’m really looking forward to working with my team and others across the organisation as I progress through my apprenticeship.
What inspired you to want to become an apprentice and build your continuous professional development?
I enjoy working and learning at the same time, it is usually the best way I pick something up; doing some academic research on a subject before actually doing it, has helped me to understand the nuances.
So far I have really enjoyed the social media side of my role because it gave me the opportunity to use some of my skills from outside of work and my team have responded positively to my suggestions and ways of increasing our presence online.
They say ‘every day is a school day’, and that is really true during an apprenticeship. It has helped me understand how I learn too, I never thought I was a hands-on learner and assumed I could learn all I needed through reading it in a book or a journal. However, being on the apprenticeship scheme has made me realise that somethings you can learn by getting hands on and doing it yourself; which includes learning from the mistakes you’ve made along the way!
How are you finding your apprenticeship work alongside your job role?
I’ve found that learning while doing the day job has worked hand-in-hand because a lot of the work I’m doing forms part of my apprenticeship. That means, after doing a piece of work, I can collate a few pieces of additional evidence and without really knowing it. I’ve actually ticked off quite a few things in my apprenticeship module already! There are some parts of my modules where I need to seek information out or do some research, but I enjoy that aspect because I enjoy reading and understanding subjects in more detail.
One other aspect of the apprenticeship that I enjoy, is that it gives me the opportunity to stop and review what I have done to see how what I do fits in to the bigger picture of delivering for Welsh Government. I have never really done something like that in work where I go back and review what I have done – it brings things into perspective and that is a good boost to show how you fit in to the work of the organisation.
What’s next for you?
I hope to continue learning as I progress through my apprenticeship with Welsh Government – I’m learning something new every single day. There’s an abundance of opportunities on offer within the organisation, so I’ll never be short of new pathways. After my apprenticeship I hope I will stay on with the organisation, either continuing my exciting role within business marketing or exploring other options available across the organisation. I am positive that the skills Welsh Government has worked with me to develop will help me in future with whatever career I choose.
Megan is one of our apprentices here at the Welsh Government.