Apprentices, 1 week to go - still plenty of time to apply for a National award...

I am sure you have seen lots of news around the National Apprenticeship Awards that are held every year, and this year they will still be going ahead albeit virtually which is great news.

This week, we caught up with East of England's YAAN Chair, Charlotte Hughes and Hertfordshire sub-regional Chair, Tatiana Peters, to find out what they had to say about their experience of winning a National Apprenticeship Award, how it has impacted them, and find out what their tips would be to help you to apply.

Charlotte Hughes Works at GSK in Stevenage and applied when she was in the 2nd Year of her 3-year apprenticeship.

"I won Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year 2017. My manager encouraged me to apply for the award, I definitely wouldn't have applied if I wasn't nudged by him to do so but I'm so glad I did! After winning the award I have had amazing opportunities including being involved in the YAAN and becoming the Chair of the East of England region back when it was established. I have spoken at events such as at the National Gallery, at the AAN/YAAN conference and was invited to speak at last year's National Awards ceremony, which I never thought I would have the confidence to do before. I think the best thing to come out of winning is that it has increased my confidence in my abilities and also allowed me to improve my soft skills and widen my network. I believe the awards are a great opportunity to celebrate achievements and possibly win an award too. There's definitely no harm in applying, and you only have something to gain."

Some of my tips for the application would be:

· Complete the application form and then get your manager or mentor (I got both) to look at your application to make sure you're not being too modest about your achievements.

· Ensure the examples you give are tangible (e.g. time/cost savings)

Tatiana Peters works at MBDA in Stevenage and applied for the award when she was in the final year of her 4-year engineering apprenticeship programme.

"I am the national winner of the 2019 Advanced Apprentice of the Year. I did get a lot of encouragement from the early careers team and various placement managers to apply for the award. I think without the support from them, I would have never applied. Winning this award has not only benefitted me in the workplace but personally as well. I used to be extremely shy, which most people don't believe when I tell them, and I could never in a million years imagine myself speaking in front of an audience. Winning the award and being a part of the YAAN has helped build my confidence and now I feel brave enough to speak about my journey to help encourage and influence young students and the next generation of engineers, which is an absolute privilege, to say the least. I have also had many opportunities to network and meet other likeminded people which has been amazing."

Some of my top tips when filling out the application would be:

· Firstly, fill it all in and then get your manager and a few other teammates to look at your application.

· Don't be shy about what you've done or hold back on your achievements.

· It's okay to show off because it just proves that you are proud of where you are at now.

· Quality, not quantity! The word count is strict so just think about how you word your answers.

You haven't got long as the closing date for entries is Friday 25th September at 5pm. For more information on the National Apprenticeship Awards visit: https://appawards.co.uk/apply

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