Ask the Apprentice: Chelsea Stevenson, HR Assistant

As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2022, we spoke to Ilkeston based HR Assistant, Chelsea Stevenson, to find out what it is like to be an apprentice at Ward.

What is your role at Ward?

“During my first year at Ward, I was based in the Health and Safety department as an administrator. I was also responsible for booking all the company training courses. I completed several courses such as my ISOQAR Lead Auditor course, Fire Marshal training, Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Health and Safety awareness and a Workplace Administration Complete Diploma.

Towards the end of my first year, the HR Assistant vacancy arose and I decided it was the right time for me to follow the path I wished to follow in my future career. I now have a varied role as the team’s HR Assistant, which includes all administrative aspects of the HR department including recruitment, publishing vacancies, completing inductions and much more!

I have always lived in Ilkeston and I am now based at Donald Ward House in Ilkeston, so it’s a great local opportunity too.”

What is your apprenticeship and how long does it take?

“While working I have been studying for a Business Administration Level 3 apprenticeship. It should take up to 18 months to complete and I am currently 11 months into it. I’m now working towards my end point assessment project and hope to graduate from the course later in the year.”

What activities do you get involved in?

“I have been involved in many activities during my time at Ward, however the highlight for me is definitely the Kickstart scheme. Kickstart is a scheme for 16–24-year-olds, to help them off universal credit and into work. This is the first project I took on when coming over to the HR Department.

The sense of giving someone an employment opportunity which they may not have had in the past and watching them grow and succeed within the role is an extremely rewarding feeling. I also assisted with our external ISOQAR audit towards the end of 2021.”

Why did you choose an apprenticeship at Ward?

“Ward offered a great opportunity to gain experience in different departments including Health and Safety and HR, whilst gaining a qualification. A local opportunity was also great as most are based in the major cities. When I came for my interview, everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming which set my decision in stone.”

What is it about the company/the industry that interests you?

“The waste management and recycling industry is very varied and there is a lot of room for development. Recycling is the future and to be involved with the industry feels rewarding.

Ward is continuously expanding their business with more employees, new sites, new rail hubs and deep-sea docks. The expansion also gives me the opportunity to develop within the business.”

What do you hope to do once your training is complete?

“Once my Business Administration apprenticeship is complete, I am going on to do a HR qualification. I’m hoping to progress with my career within the HR Department.”

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to other people?

“Absolutely! In my experience, secondary school and sixth form sometimes make you think that college then university is the only pathway you can take. During my education, I didn’t hear a lot about apprenticeships, or learn the benefits of them or the differences to university.

I think apprenticeships should be a lot more recognised throughout education and it is definitely something every young person should consider. I always knew I didn’t want to go to university however there was a point where I was stuck because I didn’t think there was any other option – an apprenticeship has opened all kinds of doors for me.

Ward has been highly supportive throughout my apprenticeship – they’ve given me time to complete my assessments and assignments, and always ensured support is there when needed.”

Through links with Derby College and the British Metal Recycling Association, Ward offers a number of apprenticeship placements each year.

To find out more about Apprenticeship and Kickstart opportunities at Ward contact [email protected] for details.