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Event apprentices: How they're coping

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted businesses in almost every industry and upended a lot of lives. This includes young people who have just started their careers with events apprenticeships.

The team from Conference & Incentive Travel (C&IT) magazine have spoken to several of those who were undertaking an apprenticeship through Realise when lockdown caused widespread disruption. Here's what they dicovered.

Isabel Claridge from Estee Lauder said:

"To be honest, I did feel a blow to my confidence when I was furloughed, however, the good news is I have been able to continue working on my apprenticeship, enabling me to stay productive during my time off. Another plus is that I have got ahead with my apprenticeship studies.” 

David Preston, CEO of Realise, explained that:

"with the event industry coming to a grinding halt, most, if not all the apprentices on our programme found themselves and their teams being furloughed, fortunately they are all employees rather than freelancers and were covered by the Job Retention Scheme. We currently have 30 event apprentices on the programme. Currently 25 have been furloughed, and all are working from home."

Another apprentice, Ruby Wright, was furloughed but was grateful for the sense of normality the coursework gave her. 

“I loved having my apprenticeship work to do whilst I was on furlough," said Wright. "It gave me a routine and a sense of accomplishment each day. Having a coach who regularly keeps in touch and was organising virtual get-togethers has been really valuable."

Emma Willis of Channel 4 agreed:

“Having apprenticeship work to do has helped days that could have been boring go by quicker and given them structure. Setting aside a few hours to focus on my learning has also helped me mentally, and it gives me something to talk about during weekly catch-ups with my team.

Grace Seal who works at the O2 Academy in Brixton said:

"Initially it was difficult adjusting to life as an apprentice on furlough, but I’ve learned to appreciate a more relaxed way of life and it’s given me time to focus on the apprenticeship assignments. I’ve even worked on my own specialised project ‘Sustainability in The Events Industry’ which is something I am going to take forward to my manager when I’m back to work and see if I can implement it in my venue." 

Gabi Ragonezi, who is doing her apprenticeship with Google, avoided furlough and was still having to work from home explained:

"Despite not being able to work on events, this lockdown period has helped me advance on the apprenticeship journey, with the extra time, my coach has been sharing lots of articles so that I can read up on everything I need to know, in anticipation of getting more practice.”

Harriet Booth of Revolution Events is another technology fan.

“Using Zoom is an excellent way of having a face to face meeting to discuss coursework; in a busy office environment it can be hard to find a quiet five minutes. As time has gone on, I do have a few moments of worrying. I have had a few days where I’ve thought that I might not go back to work. I think you have to tell yourself that it's only for a number of weeks, not the rest of our lives.” 

David Preston added that the announcement by the government on 6 July to offer £1,000 to employers to hire trainees is a ray of hope for young people. 

"The biggest challenge for the event apprenticeship programme when companies start to open up and events begin to be planned and executed, said Preston. "Is employing a young inexperienced person on the agenda for business owners? Let's hope it is somewhere."

Conference & Incentive Travel (C&IT) is the UK’s leading brand for the MICE industry. With an unrivalled portfolio of print, digital and live event products, C&IT is a key source for staying in touch with the latest developments and people in the industry.

AIM is the industry leader for end-point assessments in the Creative industry, including the standard:  Event Assistant

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