What I found though was a great support network of professionals, from my employer and from NCCI/Access Creative College, who all helped me to turn lockdown into an opportunity to evolve as a Cultural Learning and Participation Officer (CLPO) and return to work better than ever.
While furloughed I’ve had fantastic opportunities to train under industry professionals from a variety of sectors. From learning about web design under a marketing expert to being taught about socio-economics from an advisor to the NHS. I’ve used furlough as a chance to upgrade the ‘tricks of the trade’ that I use in work. You’re probably wondering how things like web design or socio-economics even begin to fall into the remit of a CLPO apprentice… In reality a lot of the job is about finding creative solutions and ideas, so the more pockets of knowledge you have at your disposal, the more creative you can get. The whole process has certainly served as a reminder to me about how unique this apprenticeship can be!
Another thing that I’ve been able to focus on over lockdown is building up my portfolio of work as I approach the final stages of my apprenticeship. I’ve developed a new found appreciation for the assignments I get set as an apprentice. I have to admit I didn’t expect to enjoy working on them as much as I have! What has made them feel so rewarding while working on them over lockdown has been being able to put my own spin on each. I’ve found myself really reflecting on my work because of these tasks. I’m not just talking about some surface level reflection either, I really can notice the confidence they’ve given me in my understanding of what it means to be a CLPO and work at the Artz Centre.
If I could give some advice to new apprentices about their own portfolios… then it would be that they’ll only ever be what you make of them! If you just complete work for the sake of having to complete work then I can’t imagine you’ll gain much. If you go into the tasks and assignments with the mindset of ‘how can I interpret this project in a way that it will really prove valuable to me’ then chances are you’ll seriously benefit from them.
So I’ve certainly been able to stay busy over lockdown! That hard work was noticed by the Artz Centre who encouraged me to apply for the Sub36 Apprentice Award, which recognises the efforts of apprentices who are trying to make an impact. As you can imagine it was amazing news to find out that I’ve been named as a finalist for the award. Not because there’s a chance of taking home a shiny trophy but because the whole process has been a chance to express how proud I am to be an apprentice! Not only that, but how proud I am to be representing the Artz Centre and NCCI/Access Creative College in an awards ceremony like this. Of course it’d be nice to be named overall winner, but in all honesty, every day as an Artz Centre apprentice is one where I feel like I’ve won out!