Knowledge Hub
  • Using an apprenticeship as the first step on your career ladder


    For many people new to the world of work, an apprenticeship provides the ideal chance to take the first step into a job. But an apprenticeship can also provide a great platform to grow your skills and help you move up in your career.

    In fact it’s a career route chosen by many successful people; including Lord Bamford who went on to lead global brand leader JCB after starting his career as an apprentice at Massey Ferguson and Henry Ford who developed the engineering skills he learnt as a machinist apprentice to revolutionise the automotive industry.

    Like NRL, both businesses are still highly invested in apprenticeships, understanding the huge benefits they can provide and great talent that can be nurture and developed within the business.


    Interested in finding out how an apprenticeship could lead to a great career?

    We sat down with NRL colleague Jamie Finn, who joined the business back in 2014 on the national apprenticeship scheme and went on to secure a role within the marketing team.


    What made you consider an apprenticeship when you left college?

    I was looking to develop my skills and rather than learn from an outside perspective I was keen to get into the workplace and learn by doing things in a live environment. I found this extremely useful as it helped me pick up a lot of practical skills along the way, and the support provided to me by NRL was invaluable in helping me grow.


    What key skills did you gain on the apprentice scheme that helped you secure a permanent role?

    By successfully completing my apprenticeship I earned a recognised qualification, my time spent within the business meant that I had developed strong relationships with my colleagues and I gained a much stronger understanding of the recruitment industry by putting my skills into practice. I think apprenticeships are sometimes dismissed as a way for businesses to get someone to help with the admin, but mine definitely felt like the full-time mixed role I was looking for and made me feel like a valued member of the team thanks to the interesting projects I was given the opportunity to get involved in.


    NRL obviously saw potential in you during your apprenticeship, so how did it feel to be offered the opportunity to progress?

    It was a great feeling to be told that I was being offered a permanent role once my apprenticeship had ended. I consider NRL to be a great place to work – there is a fantastic culture within the business – and felt that I was really benefitting from all of the advice and guidance being offered to me. And it didn’t stop there, as the business has continued to invest in my learning and provided me with paths to progress since I was given a permanent role.


    How did you find balancing learning on the job with your studying?

    It can definitely be tricky to manage your time at first, but once you realise how much time you have to complete each module of your apprenticeship it becomes easier as you can do a little bit every few days and get into a rhythm. While at work, you will be consistently applying all the new techniques you have learned which means that when the time comes to complete your coursework or study for an exam it’s much easier, as you’re already doing it on a daily basis!


    Three years on from your apprenticeship would you recommend it to others?

    My apprenticeship provided me with so much – the ability to get experience in the workplace, develop new skills, earn a salary and begin my career with a renowned employer. If you’re the kind of person who would rather learn by doing things yourself rather than read about them in a book, then I would highly recommend looking into an apprenticeship scheme.