Life on Furlough! An Apprentice’s Story

12th June 2020

Furlough doesn’t stop progression and achievement. Proof of this is one of InterLearn’s apprentices, Sophie Cooper, who is currently working towards her Level 4 NVQ in Business Administration and her Level 4 Diploma in Principles of Business Administration. Keen to share her experiences of being an apprentice during lockdown, we wanted to find out more on how her current situation has affected her apprenticeship, wellbeing and what else she has been doing to occupy her days and keep her mind well and truly active.

Speaking about how her employment has changed since COVID19, Sophie explained how she has been on furlough leave now for approximately two months. When talking about how she felt when initially consulted about the prospect of furlough she expressed that at the beginning she was a little uncertain, mainly as it was a phrase that she (and most of her family and friends) hadn’t heard of. But once it was all explained and she learned that she could still complete her apprenticeship work during this ‘downtime,’ she viewed it as an opportunity to work towards her qualification and complete as much of it as possible.

When speaking about her experience of being an apprentice on furlough she told us how her learning experience has remained the same, ‘I still have regular contact with Anita, my Learning Support Coach (LSC), who conducts my visits every month albeit over the phone, and my work is set through the use of OneFile.’ She went on to say, ‘OneFile has helped keep me on track and it is great to see my progress grow. My deadlines are managed with specific tasks and I find the OneFile messaging system really useful as I am able to receive immediate feedback, which really helps improve on future projects.’

When asked about how InterLearn has supported her as an employer specifically during this time Sophie said, ‘really well. We are kept up to date with any news through companywide meetings and we even have fortnightly calls from our CEO Matt Corden. I have weekly catch ups with my Line Manager Kim, and what is lovely is that I am also getting messages from the HR Manager Donna, just to check that I am ok.’

When asked about what else she has done with her time, Sophie went on to say that she has been attending weekly tea talks and quizzes with the Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (YAAN) and mentioned how she has also applied to be the Area Lead for Worcester. Like many of us, she has also been taking advantage of the wonderful weather by going on walks and also enjoying some delicious treats baked by her sister!

Speaking about her future, Sophie is feeling very calm and positive, and we are not surprised! Having recently applied for the role of Area Lead within the Worcester area for the Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, she has just received news that she has landed it! We are thrilled and so very proud of her achievement, as it was hotly contested, but we’re not surprised and know that she is one of the best role models and advocates of apprenticeships to inspire others. She is also such a great example of how her time on furlough has been put to good use and we cannot wait to celebrate in style once this is all over!

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