Olivia knew 6th form wasn’t for her. Her business interests led her to a project management apprenticeship in nuclear construction with Youth Friendly Employer OneAIM.
What’s your current role at OneAIM?
I’m a Level 3 Business Administration Apprentice, acting as project management apprentice on Sellafield Site. I’m training to become a good support for the project management team, running meetings and helping with paperwork.
What education route did you take into this role?
At Secondary School I studied History, Art and Business Studies as my chosen subjects – this is where my interest into business administration stemmed from. I then went onto sixth form but after a couple of months I realised it wasn’t for me and wanted to go into the world of work, so I started my apprenticeship at Energus.
How did you get into this path and why?
Following my GCSE in business studies I really wanted to get into the world of work in a business administration role. I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to go into afterwards, and the experience you get in business administration opens lots of different opportunities like marketing, HR, accounting, IT, and Project management.
I knew project management was something I was going to look into as I’ve always been really organised and enjoyed being on the job and in the office, doing both the paperwork side of things and the accounting side.
Why did you choose to work with OneAIM?
As part of my apprenticeship with Energus, I got to rotate placements every six months. OneAIM reached out requesting a business administration apprentice with progression onto level 3 if I proved to be a valued member of the organisation.
I had the option of another placement, but I chose OneAIM as I had the opportunity to get experience in different departments; whichever one I preferred I could progress onto higher education in.
What do you do as part of your apprenticeship?
As part of my business administration apprenticeship I have a lot of activities to cover, like booking and managing meetings. This includes managing diaries, taking minutes, updating the RFQ board weekly and current and lookahead jobs boards with the supervisors.
I am slowly getting introduced into different aspects of project management as part of my new role, so I occasionally do material requisitions, contact suppliers, communicate with supervisors and engineers on the jobs, and manage labour.
What do you like about your apprenticeship with a nuclear construction company?
One of the best things about my job is the people I meet and get to work with every day. Each day is different, and everyone is always really helpful when I don’t understand more complicated aspects of the role such as reading the drawings or understanding the jargon used in the scopes.
I also really enjoy the paperwork side of the job and keeping myself and the people around me organised.
How has your apprenticeship helped you – both professionally and as a person?
My confidence in communication has improved, through dealing with new and different customers every day through lots of different communication methods including face to face, email, and phone.
My job has made me a lot more confident in reaching out to people and speaking more professionally during presentation or negotiating with customers and as 90% of a project manager’s time is spent communicating, it is an essential skill to be confident in.
I have also been able to learn my own strengths and weaknesses to become a better team player. For example, I am really good with organisation and paperwork but not the best at telling people what to do, so I will often take on a lot of the paperwork in a team.
What skills you use in your apprenticeship?
Something I have learnt from my apprenticeship that I use daily in my role is self-management and personal organisation. I have always been a very proactive worker at home and work and like to keep everything planned ahead of time. This is an important skill in project management as you can’t help others if you can’t first help yourself.
I like to use lots of different organisation tools daily, Post-it notes, my personal diary, a printer calendar, Outlook calendar, shared office calendar…
A further important skill to have in meetings is negotiation. This could be with internal or external customers, negotiating the use of resources, labour, budgets, scope and the like. Negotiating requires you to have both your customers’ and your organisation’s needs in mind and coming to an agreement that will benefit both. This is another key skill to have that I am learning to develop every day.
Any advice for other young people out there who are thinking about careers?
Advice I would always give younger people is don’t panic if you don’t know what you want to do yet, or the job you have chosen to do isn’t for you anymore.
The skills you learn in life and in work are all transferable skills that you can use when you find the job you love. They will all help you get there. Business Administration is the perfect role to start in if you aren’t sure what you want to do or where you want to go.
Always listen to those around you who have the most experience. They will see what skills you have and will introduce you to amazing opportunities in the field most suited to you.
Don’t be nervous if you don’t know anything about something, as there will always be someone there to help you if you get stuck.
OneAIM Employer Information
As the nuclear construction team delivering the Operation Site Works (OSW) Framework at Sellafield Site, Youth Friendly Employer OneAIM thinks big when it comes to keeping the UK fuelled up and ready to go.