The first months in a new role is an exciting time for any ambitious Learning Foundry apprentice, and that is certainly true of Benji, taking his initial steps into the working world as a Business Admin apprentice at The Regenda Group. The young apprentice’s taste of an office environment has taken a few unusual twists and turns in recent weeks, given the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation! We sat down (virtually) with Benji to find out how he is managing working from home and uncover if there are any tips he can share with us following his first ever week of remote working, away from the hustle and bustle of the office.
What motivated you to take on an Apprenticeship with The Learning Foundry?
I first heard of The Learning Foundry from my friend who completed a Traineeship with them and got himself an Apprenticeship. I got talking to him and it sounded perfect for me! I went to college for a year, but it wasn’t for me. I wanted an Apprenticeship but just didn’t know where to look. I went into The Learning Foundry campus and got talking to a member of staff about my options. Within minutes I wanted to join, it was the only place I had come across which offered Apprenticeships in Housing and I was delighted!
What does your Apprenticeship involve?
My Apprenticeship is 13 months long with The Regenda Group, with a potential job role at the end of it. I will be joining a number of teams across the company and will work alongside them for nine weeks. So far, I have worked in the Asset Management team, the Financial Inclusion team and now I’m currently working with the Independent Living team. I have learnt so much already and everybody has been so welcoming. I believe rotating between teams every nine weeks is perfect as I get to have a taste of what each role entails and am also able to expand my knowledge of The Regenda Group.
When did you learn that you would be working from home due to Coronavirus (Covid-19)?
I was told that I would be working from home last week. My Independent Living team colleagues at The Regenda Group have been very helpful and supportive, they’ve given me tasks to complete and have made it clear that if I need any help to give one of them a ring whenever I like.
Have you found working at home difficult?
Well I wouldn’t say difficult, but I’d say different. Currently, my sister is working at home as well so I have to share a computer, but my team are aware of this and it doesn’t really stop me or slow me down from completing any work, I will have my own laptop soon anyway so this won’t be for long.
Do you feel you have received the support you need from The Learning Foundry?
Yes 100%, I know exactly what I have to do to continue with my Business Admin qualification. My tutor Lynn Hanley has contacted me and we set up a virtual meeting via Skype. Lynn has given me quite a bit of work that I can complete online and I’m moving along with that quite nicely. I know that Lynn is there to assist me if I have any questions.
Do you feel that you have benefited from working from home in any way?
I just keep the same attitude I would have if I was to be working in the office, I suppose I’m more independent now so that’s always a good thing as I’m completing work without having a member of staff sitting next to me.
How are you communicating with your fellow apprentices whilst working from home?
If its work-related I’d use emails but if it’s just to have a general chat, then through social media.
How are you communicating with your Managers whilst working from home?
I have been talking to Rachael Deakin, Independent Living and Adaptations Officer and Andy Tester, Supported Housing Manager on my mobile, they’ve both made it very clear that I can ring them whenever and I also have access to my email.
Are there any tips you would like to share with your fellow apprentices that are working from home?
I would say one of the key things that’s helped me is getting into that working mindset with a routine, such as waking up the same time as I would if I was to travel to the office and getting dressed, instead of maybe staying in pyjamas and not being fully focused.
How do you feel your employer, The Regenda Group have handled this situation?
I think The Regenda Group have handled this situation very well, obviously this is a massive challenge for the whole company which I understand, but they haven’t left us apprentices in the dark, I get updates of what’s happening every day and know what’s going on.