Meet an Apprentice

Matthew Critchley joined Meachers as an apprentice in 2019, and within six months became a fully-fledged member of the team. Currently working in our Carnival UK Administration team, we caught up with Matt to ask him why he chose the apprenticeship route, what experience and skills he has gained as a result and what advice he would give to others considering an apprenticeship as a path to a rewarding career.  

Tell us a bit about yourself, your role at Meachers and when you joined the company? 

I’m Matthew, I’m 21 and I work in the Carnival UK Administration team. I first joined Meachers as an apprentice when I was just 18 in September 2019. 

When did you begin your apprenticeship? 

I began my role at Meachers in an apprenticeship. Set to go around all departments within the company to get a better understanding of which area of the business interested me most. It didn’t take long to find the perfect fit for me with the Carnival team.  

Tell us about your apprenticeship, what did you study? 

I studied Business Administration Level 3 at Southampton’s City College.  

What made you decide to choose the apprenticeship route? 

The apprenticeship route was definitely the best fit for me. I was recently out of college and unsure of what I was going to do for work. So coming across an opportunity where I could gain a qualification, and explore different areas of a business, was a no-brainer! 

What would you say are the best aspects of apprenticeships? 

The best aspect of my apprenticeship would have to be the consistent support. By doing a course with a tutor alongside work with colleagues, you constantly know that you have great support through all the tricky areas. 

Can you describe what a typical week looks like for someone doing an apprenticeship? How does the work/study balance work? 

Your time as an apprentice is divided for you. You’ll spend 80% of your time with your employer and 20% of your time completing college work. This may work out as just 4:1 days in terms of how you’ll spend your time. It’s therefore great if you can relate your studies to your role as it will pay dividends throughout the week. For example – peer assessment was required for the Business Admin course, which meant I could gain valuable lessons and growth from my colleagues at work. 

What sort of skills and experience have you achieved through your apprenticeship? 

I have learned so much about myself through my apprenticeship. I know how to cope under pressure, meet demands, prioritise, juggle different activities and am able to translate that between life as an employee and life as a student. The experience is invaluable, because nothing can truly prepare you for the workplace like an apprenticeship, where not only are you learning on the job, but off it too. 

Would you recommend others consider the apprenticeship route? 

I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship route because it gives you the best of both worlds. If you’re unsure which areas of working life or further education you are best suited to, you can experience both and reap the rewards of gaining both qualifications and experience – you can’t lose. 

Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone considering an apprenticeship? 

When choosing an apprenticeship, make sure that it is something you are interested in, or at the very least, gives you plenty of options to explore different things. At Meachers, I was fortunate enough to be given many different avenues that could have possibly piqued my interest. If you know you’ll enjoy developing your skill set for your desired field, then there is every reason that an apprenticeship could be for you.