Scottish Apprenticeship Week celebrates the benefits apprenticeships bring to individuals, businesses and the economy. One of our Shetland staff, Christine Murchison, tells us about the Modern Apprenticeship (MA) she completed with SNH a couple of years ago.
Shortly after starting my job with SNH in April 2013, I was given the opportunity to begin an SVQ Level 3 in Business and Administration. To be honest, at the time I was both delighted and surprised as I expected it to only be available for younger candidates! Having been employed in the travel industry for over 25 years and then admin temping for a year I thought it would set me a personal challenge and give me the opportunity to further my skills. I would gain additional qualifications and it would contribute towards my personal training and development achievements. I was particularly grateful that this qualification could be gained during work hours and hoped that it would be beneficial to both myself and SNH in the coming years.
I had a number of teething problems, not least because our office location in Shetland meant that the training company felt that a visit was not feasible so I had to work out the online systems with minimal phone and email instructions. This meant some elements got overlooked and it was only as time progressed, that things came to light which would have simplified proceedings had I had a face-to face introduction. There was even the small matter of me not quite understanding what an SVQ entailed in that you don’t actually learn anything as such. As an ‘older’ candidate, it was a relief to find out from a friend further down the line, that with an SVQ it’s basically a question of gathering evidence. This altered my mind set on how the SVQ worked as I’d found it frustrating up to that point wondering why I wasn’t gaining any knowledge!
Some units were more straightforward than others depending on what the topic was and if I had evidence to suit. Due to the nature of my admin job, some of the questions asked and product evidence required wasn’t always applicable, so I had to try and work around that.
The modules all required a mixture of written answers and “Performance Indicators” which were met by way of providing evidence such as screen shots, e-mails, and other data which matched the criteria required.
All the answers and evidence were uploaded onto an online learning portal. I’d never used this method before, but once I worked out how it operated it did get easier. It meant that everything was stored virtually with the assessor being able to review the units online without reams of paper having to be posted away for assessment.
Remote learning can be a difficult concept if you’re not getting the help you would have had in person, however assistance from the right tutor can make all the difference and the tutor in the latter stages of my SVQ was very helpful in answering my queries and explaining what was required. This spurred me on to continue and finally finish the SVQ.
I’m so glad I persevered and finished it. Since then I find it makes you think more about what you’re doing and the processes involved. It shows an employer that you have the aptitude to apply yourself and to be aware of the different areas of your work.
Find out more about Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017 here.
And whether you’re an employer or an employee there’s more information about Modern Apprenticeships here.