Studied – Apprenticeship in Business Administration : Level 2
Progression – Business Support Officer, Birmingham City Council
Two things stand out for Adam Rhodes during his time as an apprentice – his resilience and the part he played to make a procedure at Birmingham City Council more efficient.
Although the 20-year-old wanted to walk away from his job with the Council’s special education needs team on the first day, he decided to stick with it. Now he couldn’t be happier in his role as a business support officer.
“My business administration apprenticeship has taught me that it takes time to build up your knowledge and confidence,” said Adam. “When you do get to a position where you feel you’re doing well, you realise the value you bring to an organisation.”
A real measure of his success came about when he worked with a colleague to reduce a backlog of work relating to the support plans for each child receiving support services.
“A process was in place to log each child’s annual reviews,” explained Adam. “It used to take 5-20 minutes to go through each individual plan and we worked out a way to do this in a lot less time. We got rid of the backlog and are in a much better position now.
“This process worked so well that we even got to do a big presentation to other colleagues, showing them how to do the work more efficiently.”
For someone who was once full of doubts about his abilities, Adam is now eager to continue learning as much as he can about the work of his department and the wider policies around the government’s Education Health and Care Plan.
“My role involves coordinating the education services provided to children with learning difficulties and disabilities,” he said. “I help parents liaise with schools and colleges, health professionals, psychologists and others involved in their education and welfare.
“It’s about making sure every child receives they education they deserve. Supporting the parents is important too – many of them see us as lifeline.”
With the work he was doing carrying so much importance, Adam did feel some pressure. On top of that there was a sense of being overwhelmed by the working environment.
“I came to the Council straight from college and was the youngest person in the office,” Adam recalled. “I felt completely out of my depth. I couldn’t use the systems and didn’t know who anyone was.
“I was worried about doing the wrong thing and knew I had to overcome this.
“It’s not something that happened overnight, it was more a gradual thing. I didn’t always notice it until after something was done or I answered a query without hesitating.”
Asking others for help also made a difference.
“I talked to my manager and to my college assessor, Rav a lot about what was going through my mind,” said Adam. “They were both there for me. Maria, my manager took me around the whole of the building so I would understand where everything was and what different departments were doing. And Rav gave me lots of encouragement. We’d have meetings every 5-6 weeks so we could both tell how much I was improving.
“It’s good to have support on the inside and from outside. The different views help you see things more objectively.”
He continued: “I’d say to anyone starting out on an Apprenticeship, or even any job, that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Otherwise, you’ll just be stuck and won’t feel good about yourself.”
“The reason I started an Apprenticeship was to get my foot in the door somewhere and find out what I could do in future. Getting a qualification was important too. A regular job wouldn’t have offered that.”
For someone who once wanted to walk away, Adam is now an expert at moving forwards.
“I was really happy the Council offered me a job after the Apprenticeship,” he added. “There are still more processes for me to learn and different procedures we do annually that I’d like to get better at doing. I also like the idea of working more with other different departments across the Council.
“There’s a great career to be had here. I could go on to be a team leader or a manager if I want to.”