Lucy Cooper

Lucy Cooper

My name is Lucy Cooper. I am 22 years old and I live in Southampton, Hampshire I am five months into my Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship with Southampton City Council.

How did you first find out about the possibility of doing an apprenticeship?

During school I assumed that I could only do an apprenticeship if I was planning on going onto do a specific occupation such as construction management or engineering. However, I found out more about the possibility of apprenticeships when I was in my second year of college and advice was given to me on both routes for after I finished my A-Levels. For me, University seemed like the ideal route as I was still unsure as to what career I wanted to do but had a good understanding of what subjects I enjoyed studying. I then went on to study Photography at Manchester Metropolitan University, graduating with a 2:1 in June 2018.

Since doing an apprenticeship I now understand that it is a good way to develop on skills that I learnt at university and apply them into a working environment. Whilst taking part in a Level 3 Business Administration course in the workplace I also get to experience different job routes I can explore in the future. I get to work in a friendly environment, develop my skills and get paid whilst doing it.

What does your work entail day-to-day?

On a day to day basis, I support and coordinate the council’s key strategic partnerships ensuring they deliver their objectives. I can be involved in the organisation and running of meetings, workshops and events, as well as taking part in research that will support partners and stakeholders.

Do you enjoy the work?

Working for Southampton City Council enables me to understand and learn more about local authorities and the politics within them. I enjoy building working relationships with both senior managers and officers within Southampton City Council and external partners from other organisations such as Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and the NHS.

Are you supported by your line managers and respected by others in the company?

Since working for the council I have met a wide range of people all of which that have treated me with respect. I work within a small team, all of which have been extremely welcoming and I have had the chance to mentor and learn from many people already. My line manager offers me the right balance between support and responsibility within my job role and enables me to take part in events and activities that will benefit my course and develop my skills further. I have had the opportunity to do projects and network with officers outside my team and I am constantly learning more about the council and the surrounding teams.

What is your favourite part of the job?

My favourite part about working within the Council is the room for development and the amount of support given by many different departments.

How does it compare to what your peers are experiencing at university or in other routes?

Many of my friends are taking part in some kind of qualification within their workplace so I feel very similar to them. I am glad I got to experience University but feel I am in the best place now for the development of my career.

How did your family and friends react to you deciding to do an apprenticeship?

A handful of my friends decided to take the apprenticeship route after college, so they understood the benefit it would have for me in terms of my career and completing another qualification that would appeal to employers. Others thought it seemed strange going from a Level 6 qualification to a Level 3 particularly in a job role that didn’t relate to my degree. However, I see this move from university to apprenticeship as a development, I feel both have taught me different skills that I can transfer into the workplace.

What are your prospects after your apprenticeship?

After I finish my apprenticeship in 2021, I already feel confident that in the last five months I have learnt skills that I can transfer to other jobs roles and I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and finish my course to a high standard.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years’ time I would like to see myself remaining in local authority, being part of a friendly team and doing a role that helps and influences others.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to young people trying to decide what to do after school?

My advice to anyone that is deciding what to do after leaving school would be to do something that they enjoy. I feel it is vital to explore the choices of University and Apprenticeships equally in order to understand what is better for them. In my experience University taught me to be independent, to develop on my life skills and to work hard. Whereas my apprenticeship has taught me how to use my skills in the workplace, as well as what different opportunities are out there for me.