I really enjoyed my time at Reigate College, especially how independent I was allowed to be with my studies. This independence meant I could be flexible with my own work. I didn’t feel confined to a College space all day every day and could go out into the town (well, Nando’s!) and take time off to play in sports tournaments without missing out on content.

Although I originally intended to go to university and joined the UCAS pathway in my second year, that didn’t stop the College helping me once I realised that I wanted to go down the apprenticeship route. My tutor, teachers and peers were extremely helpful in letting me know where I could find opportunities and supportive in both my course learning and where I wanted to be once I had left.

In the September after leaving College, I enrolled on the Kraft Heinz apprenticeship scheme. As it’s my first year, I’m on my first rotation in a department called Category Development, which is a business function I didn’t even know existed until I started!

My role involves working with retailers to increase their performance. However, I do not know where I will be working for the next two years. That’s something I like, as it allows me to have a year’s experience in the business and decide then where I would like to go next internally, which really opens up my career possibilities.

What I enjoy a lot is how much responsibility I’m given. Being allowed to take ownership of my own retailer accounts is amazing – it makes me feel trusted and I don’t feel like I’m just doing work for somebody else.

Something that I found challenging to begin with was presenting my work to colleagues both inside and outside the business. It can be daunting at first when you think all eyes in the room are looking at you, but after a few presentations it will feel like a piece of cake! Practising beforehand definitely helps, whether that’s to your manager (or to a random object you find in the house!).

For those considering apprenticeships I’d just say go for it! Nowadays, a lot of top companies offer the scheme and it’s a great chance to get ahead in your career. The insight and experience you will receive will be second-to-none from top industry professionals, plus you won’t have any student debt! Applying to these roles also gives you understanding of how the application processes work so don’t worry if you get rejected at first, use the feedback you get and the knowledge you’ve gained to improve on the next one!

Ben Dillon

Reigate College: 2021-2023

Higher education: BA Chartered Management, University of West London while working as a Degree Apprentice at The Kraft Heinz Company

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