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Reflecting on my 1st Year at South West Water

Digital Apprentice Emily Stephenson reflects on completing the first year of her apprenticeship in the Communications Team.

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A year ago today I started the first day of my apprenticeship feeling nervous and excited as I embarked on a new adventure that would enable me to gain a wide skill set in a variety of mediums, on-the-job experience and a nationally accredited qualification in creative media.

In my last blog , I wrote about struggling to decide between going to university and possibly doing a degree that I wouldn't like or choosing an internship, and how I came across this apprenticeship and knowing that is what I wanted to do.

I can now say, a year on, I don't regret not going to university and I still think choosing an apprenticeship was the best decision ever. I have gained so much from working at South West Water that I knew I wouldn't gain at university, such as developing a clear knowledge and understanding of digital media, web administration and graphic design amongst other things.

I have been studying for a creative media NVQ at Plymouth College of Art and I hope to have this finished in the next couple of months, meaning that I will have a recognised qualification that will help me progress in my future career.

Since starting at South West Water I have become confident in my job role and feel that it is constantly being tailored to fit me as well as pushing me to do things I had never done before. I have developed a clear understanding of the company and of course digital media. This is something I had only touched on previously at both college and school, but I really wanted to learn more and improve my skills, which I feel like I have achieved since working here.

The opportunities and experiences that I have been given here so far is what have allowed me to progress and learn every day and I still stand by the statement that every day I learn something new and each day is different from the last. I've had the opportunity to visit various sites around the region, attend events and be involved with lots of projects.

If I had to choose one achievement it would be setting up the Apprenticeship Team and being so involved with the apprentices and the programme. At the beginning of the year I was asked to create a short video on our apprenticeship programme as part of our submission to the Express & Echo Business Awards for the Best Apprenticeship Employer category. Much to our delight we were crowned the winners. Being so involved in the submission and contributing to the win made me really proud. Alongside other things Kerenza (Organisational & Employee Development Apprentice) and I set up a community portal for apprentices where everyone can get to know each other. In recent weeks we have helped organise an apprenticeship market stall in which we showcased our award-winning programme to other departments who don't yet have apprentices and encouraged them to do so.

I am lucky to be surrounded by such supportive team members and apprentices who are always willing to lend a hand and support you in whichever way possible.

Moving into the second year of my apprenticeship I hope to progress further, adapt and learn new skills that will help build my career, as well as completing my creative media NVQ. I am excited to see what the next year brings in terms of new challenges and trying new things.

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