National Apprenticeship Week spotlight on a Business Administrator apprentice at Arts Council

For National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we caught up with apprentice Jayne Longden to ask her about her experience on her apprenticeship and how she's helping to #BuildTheFuture at Arts Council England.

Jayne said: "I have been working at the Arts Council since January 2020. Prior to this role, I worked at Nando's, my local pub and as a receptionist. After completing my A-Levels in 2018, I decided University wasn't for me and I liked the idea of an apprenticeship. My mum came across the apprenticeship for the Arts Council on the government website and suggested I apply. I didn't know who the Arts Council were or what they did, but after a little bit of research I was drawn to the role. The idea of working to help grow the Arts and Cultural sector appealed to me, I like working with people and feel like my work is making a difference.

"When I was invited to my interview in the Manchester office, I was a little nervous. My nerves were quickly settled when I was greeted with biscuits! Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and I felt so comfortable talking to the team I began to forget I was in a job interview.

"Having been with the Arts Council for over a year, the friendly and welcoming atmosphere still applies. There is always someone happy to help me if I am ever stuck on something. The Arts Council has been very supportive whilst we have been working from home, with regular updates, drop in sessions and a working from home allowance. A great benefit is the flexible working hours. I try to work from 8am until 4pm and as I have horses this flexible working allows me to look after them, so this is a great benefit for me. Working from home has been challenging, whilst there is so much support from both my apprenticeship provider, the National College Creative Industries, and the Arts Council, it can be a challenge developing my understanding. If there is ever anything I am stuck on, it’s not as simple as turning to someone at a desk and asking for help, I have found this to be a barrier whilst working at home. However, I was lucky enough to have three months in the office before lockdown, which helped me to settle into my role.

"In my time in my role so far, I have been involved with a variety of projects and teams. I am currently supporting the North Music Team with an advice giving project. The team are keen for me to support them with as much as possible and are always there to answer any questions I have; it feels great to be a part of such a supportive team. This is very much the case with the team of assistants and my Line Manager, who I work closely with. There is always someone happy to help and we work very well as a team, it’s also nice to catch up socially outside of work - I have definitely developed friendships whilst working with the Arts Council. I have also had the opportunity to work with a variety of external colleagues, including members of the North Area Council. When I applied to my role, I did not expect to be given the opportunity to work on the projects or with the people I have so far.

"My apprenticeship has been going very well. I have attended a variety of informative training sessions over the course of my apprenticeship, that have fed into both my apprenticeship and my role. I feel I balance my apprenticeship work and job quite well and have the opportunity to take Fridays as a day to focus solely on my apprenticeship. My Industry Practitioner (assessor) from NCCI is always available to answer any questions and queries and keeps me in the loop of any upcoming events or training."

Jayne’s line manager, Rachael Singleton, said: “From the first time I met Jayne, I knew she would fit in well with the team. Jayne regularly contributes new ideas to our ways of working. She always strives to do her best by looking for the next project she can be involved in to help increase her skills/knowledge and is a great asset to the Assistant Team. Jayne’s work ethic has also helped tremendously during these uncertain times, it’s a pleasure to work with her.”

Jayne Longdon