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Chantelle Gibbons - Level 6 Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

"I wanted to progress my career without having to return to university full-time. I felt that it would be the best way to use the skills and experience I have acquired in my current role to gain a qualification. I have wanted to become a social worker for quite some time but due to financial constraints and family commitments I would not have had the opportunity to follow my dreams. I thrive from learning practically, so an apprenticeship is perfect for me to build my skills and knowledge and put what I am learning at university into practice in my workplace."

What stands out about NTU?

"The environment is so friendly, and everyone seems enthusiastic to be part of such a lovely university. NTU really supports its students, and has so much support available, whether it be for those who may require reasonable adjustments, or any form of additional help to enable us all to be the best that we can be. I am also really pleased about the level of diversity within the students and staff members."

How do you believe this apprenticeship will affect both your current job role and future career?

"This apprenticeship is already helping me to become much more confident in my current role. I have always doubted myself, but I am now more able to make decisions and take actions without reaching out for support from my managers. I am now given much more complex cases and feel able to tackle them using what I have learned from my apprenticeship, but I realise I still have a long way to go. I am very excited for my placement to put what I have learned into practice even more than I am already doing. I believe this apprenticeship will put me in good standing when I hopefully go on to become a social worker. Having the hands-on experience that couldn’t possibly be provided from a traditional degree will really give me that extra confidence in taking the next step in my career."

How would you rate the teaching and support staff on this apprenticeship?

"I would rate all my teaching and support staff 10/10. I could not have asked for better lecturers and mentors – they are extremely knowledgeable and experienced. But most of all, they are very down-to-earth and understanding about the pressures of completing an apprenticeship. They will go above and beyond to make sure that we understand what is expected of us, especially since most of us have not been in education for a number of years."

What do you think of the facilities available at NTU?

"The facilities at NTU are outstanding, and the campus is beautiful. I am extremely impressed with all the online facilities, especially the library, which has really come a long way since my previous time at NTU. There is not much you can’t find from the online library if you request it! I also really like the fact that we are able to access all of our learning materials online, which isn’t something that I was able to do when I attended many years ago."

I am now given much more complex cases and feel able to tackle them using what I have learned from my apprenticeship.

What is your favourite thing about your apprenticeship?

"Probably the immense amount of skills and knowledge that you gain in such a short period of time. The modules are quite short and filled with information, which can be quite mind-blowing at times, but it is just so interesting and thought-provoking. I really like the fact that I can now put into practice what I have learned during my lectures, and it just feels like everything makes much more sense in my current role. I have also really enjoyed getting to know my peers and building a fantastic relationship with them all – I have definitely made lifelong friends!"

What skills and experience have you gained as part of this apprenticeship?

"I have gained a lot of communication skills, both written and verbal. It’s also really helped me to improve my IT skills. I wasn’t expecting the apprenticeship to be so fast-paced and dynamic, so it has forced me to improve my organisation and adaptability skills which are also critical in my current role, so this has been very beneficial. I have also learned more about teamwork by engaging in multiple group work activities."

What advice would you give to someone considering a higher/degree apprenticeship?

"I would say that everything will work out if you recognise from the start that the apprenticeship will be challenging, but it will be extremely rewarding. Try to remain positive during periods of high stress and realise that you will get through those difficult stages and it will all be worth it in the end. Seize every opportunity that you are offered to improve your learning. Be sure to build a relationship with your peers as their support will be essential to get you through any tough times. It goes by so quickly, so try to enjoy it and take as much away from it as you can – it is an opportunity not to be missed!"

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