Things I’ve learnt from my apprenticeship

In this blog, business professional apprentice, Gemma Ferris, gives an insight into what she learnt during her apprenticeship

18 May 2021

During my role as a business apprentice, I have worked in three different business service departments - finance; project management, and people team. Each department taught me new skills as well as providing me with valuable opportunities to work on different projects. The firm overall has been very welcoming and inclusive to our role. These are the main things I've learnt from my apprenticeship at Burges Salmon.

Take opportunities

Burges Salmon offers plenty of opportunities both work-wise as well as for personal development. The best opportunity I was able to take was co-leading on a firm-wide charity project to support our charitable theme of the year, No Child Goes Hungry. A fellow apprentice, Ellie, and I were approached to run the project with a team of apprentices. We were able to compile a cookery book filled with employee, partner, external charity and companies’ recipes. I developed the ordering process, the distribution system and supported the process of collecting recipes. Collectively, we raised over £2,000 to be split between FareShare and an Edinburgh‐based charity. This project allowed me to work with a range of people including the charity committee; design team and legal support.

Expect the unexpected

Embrace each task and project as no day is the same! Joining project management at the start of March 2020, was a unique experience. I had the opportunity to support the COVID response home-working team where I helped with the technical building of mobile phones; worked with the people team and IT to distribute them and then supported with demonstrating how to use them to colleagues. This experience showed me how quickly the firm was able to adapt to working from home, and I enjoyed the buzz of the department.

Just say yes!

Don’t be afraid to say yes to new opportunities! Each department provides a variety of work to get involved with. Whilst in finance, I had the opportunity to attend budget meetings with senior management and support with pricing with pitches for potential clients, whilst also learning the basics. Currently, in the people team, I have supported running a lunch & learn on the menopause in collaboration with our gender employee network, BBalanced, and an external speaker. I have also had the chance to get involved with our social mobility projects through supporting our Insight Days for students from year 10 to year 13.

Ultimately, this apprenticeship not only gave me an insight into the corporate world of Burges Salmon, but has shown me the inclusive nature of the firm. I have been able to continue my studies whilst developing my work-based skills that I will be able to use going forward in my next role.

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