As part of our commitment to investing in the growth and development of our colleagues, Vertas Group are delighted to support individuals at the start of their careers by offering apprenticeships tailored to their needs.
To highlight this year’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) theme, Skills for Life, we touched base with Oliver Boulton-Smith, Landscape Operative Apprentice, to gain a better understanding of his experience since embarking on an apprenticeship as a new recruit. Oliver began his course in 2022 with Derby College and has acquired essential skills and qualifications, enabling him to thrive professionally.
How is it balancing work and studies?
Balancing my work and studies isn’t too bad. I attend college once a week and find that if I complete my tasks on that day, it makes it manageable to balance both responsibilities. I also take photos at work to provide evidence I’m using the tools correctly – this also supports my college work.
Additionally, it’s great to earn while I learn. It’s so much better than going to college and not getting paid, which is what I was doing previously.
How supported are you by Vertas Group?
The Assistant Regional Manager and my colleagues provide valuable support and boost my confidence, particularly in tasks like driving the vans. They have assisted me in getting additional certifications, such as using tools and machinery like the ride-on lawnmowers. They also help me learn on the job, including teaching me the Latin names of plants, which I can apply to my college work.
I feel like I’ve learned three times more doing this apprenticeship compared to when I was attending college alone. I didn’t enjoy how the teachers could sometimes be unreliable. Working with Vertas, I can experience real-life situations, and It has helped me mature, proving what I can do when I really commit myself.
We also spoke with Keavi Rickards who has been working within the Vertas People Team for nearly three years, initially joining the business as a People & Operations Assistant before becoming a Supervisor in June 2022. In that time, she also begun studying toward her CIPD Apprenticeship.
What qualification will you gain once you have completed your CIPD Apprenticeship?
CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management.
How do you manage your workload alongside studying?
Lists are my best friend – they are a great way to organise my day and week! They help me falling behind and keep me on track.
How well supported have you been by your team and the wider Vertas Group?
I’m very lucky that Vertas provided this opportunity, I feel very supported and I’m grateful for my peers who have cheered me on and been there to offer support and knowledge. Colleagues of mine have been through the same qualification, so they have proved to be great sounding boards as they know exactly what I am going through.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of undertaking an apprenticeship?
Do it! Any opportunity to grow is worth it, and you’re in safe hands with Vertas from start to finish.