Nat + Rob: If you're a client of ours, or work with us on projects in any other capacity, then you'll likely know Jess, our apprentice of 6 months. Jess works on all manner of assignments and projects at FW - from office administration and production coordination to editing and assisting on shoots. We asked her to write a blog post about what it has been like for her working as part of the FW team for the last 1/2 year and you can read her post below. It makes for interesting reading, especially if you're considering becoming an apprentice or if you're a company considering taking an apprentice on. From FLETCHERWILSON's point of view we're really enjoying having an enthusiastic, conscientious and hard working apprentice as part of the FW team and would recommend apprenticeships to other companies that could benefit from all than an enthusiastic person, who is ready to learn, can bring. Thanks for being part of the team Jess.

Jess: Leaving school half way through my second year of Sixth Form wasn't an easy decision. I wasn't just leaving my friends behind, I was solidifying the decision I'd made that university wasn't the route I wanted to take – at least not at this point in my life. I’d already left Sixth Form after the first year and come back again so I needed to really make sure this time that leaving was a risk I wanted to take. So what was I going to do instead? At first I wasn't really sure. I knew I wanted to start earning my own wage and I knew I wanted to gain experiences that weren't limited to ones I'd already come across in education. Getting a job would allow me to do both of these things. So, the answer was easy right?

Well although getting a job may have seemed like my only option, no matter how many times you're told it's a tough climate and there literally is just a lack of jobs, you never imagine how true this is until you start looking for one. The GCSE grades I had were good and so were the three AS Levels I had gotten during my time at Sixth Form, but the only experience I had working was two weeks at a nursery on work placement at school. Seen as I thought I wanted to go into the media industry I was right to think that stopping kids running their trucks through their lunch wasn't going to be particularly helpful. I did fairly well at school and I wasn't used to feeling like I wasn't quite good enough, I always tried my hardest and got by. I got a lot of rejection and that was hard to deal with.

After a few days of feeling sorry for myself I decided I needed to be more proactive about getting myself out there, and then I recalled a conversation I’d had years ago with a teacher about apprenticeships. Now, I don’t know about other schools but aside from this conversation I barely remembered having in class years prior, getting onto an apprenticeship was not an option that was widely advertised for us. With an apprenticeship you gain experience in a field of your choice in a real work environment, an actual qualification and you’re earning your own money. I’d love for apprenticeships to be more widely spoke of so people my age know they've got more than one option. 

In any case, I got onto the Apprenticeships website and searched for places in media production companies. I managed to get an interview with an apprenticeship provider almost straight away and I already felt so much better. I did well at the interview and they said they’d find me some companies to interview for. I got home and within two days I had another interview, this time with a media production company. I did some brief research on the company, travelled to Stratford, went to the interview and within two hours of getting home I was offered the placement! I was so relieved and excited to start my new job, so of course, I accepted. The following Monday I showed up at FLETCHERWILSON ready to start my first day at work.

I don’t think I could have asked for a better company to be placed with. The guys I work for and everyone I've met since being here have been understanding, helpful and eager to teach me new things. But that’s not to say I haven’t found it difficult. Coming to work every day when most of my peers were still back at school was hard and I never thought I’d say it but, I really did miss being at school. I didn't have that much confidence and as silly as it sounds I even had trouble answering the phones at first. Starting work enabled me to do a lot of growing up that I didn't know I had to do. My confidence has grown so much and I've learnt such a lot about myself. Aside from all the personal ways I feel I have developed, I've also gained a lot of knowledge and new skills. One thing I like most about working here is the versatility. I've been out helping on shoots, operated auto-cue, booked crew and kit, handled a job with a client and so much more. Aside from these things I spend most of my time in the office, acting as receptionist and doing little jobs as and when they are needed. My qualification is in Business Administration (so we have to stick some slightly more boring stuff in there too.) Although, don’t ask me to do double sided printing… - ask Rob about that one! At times I've been given responsibilities that I didn't think I could handle but I felt that I've always overcome my fears and tried my best (but again, you’d have to see what Rob and Nat though about that one!).

I’m about half way through my apprenticeship now and really feel I have gained a true insight into what it would be like to work in this sector in the future. I'm not really sure what specific area interests me yet. I’ve been having a go at editing and I’ll be doing more of that and hopefully in the next few months I’ll experience going out on more shoots and get some more experience with operating a camera.

I wanted to write this post for several reasons but mainly to give some insight about my experience as a school leaver and as an apprentice to other people my age. I know there are bound to be loads of people out there, around my age, that are feeling lost and at a loose end. This really was the best thing I could have done, not only in terms of my career, but in terms of what was good for me personally. There are a lot of opportunities available to young people, so don’t think you have to go to university or study A Levels if that’s not for you. As long as you’re willing to work hard and go out of your comfort zone you really can achieve anything!

Finally I want to thank Rob and Nat for putting up with me! I’ve had my moments but I’m not all bad really. I look forward to what the next sixth months has in store for me and I’m ready to see what else I can accomplish. Whatever happens I know I can look back on this whole experience and say I'm glad I got onto an apprenticeship and I’m proud to have worked for FLETCHERWILSON.