Ellen Turner started an apprenticeship with Revolution Events in 2015 and has since become a vital member of the Revolution team. In the following article, Ellen talks about her experiences with the company and her recent award for all her hard work…

Why I chose an apprenticeship at Revolution Events

 On Friday 10th March, at Barclays London headquarters in Canary Wharf, employers, nominees, industry professionals, apprentices, and ex-apprentices (such as myself), gathered together to celebrate the latest innovations and achievements that the industry had to offer. The event was a perfect way to round off national apprentice week and it felt only right to reflect on my time as an apprentice.

I’ve been at Revolution Events for 18 months now and began my apprenticeship in October 2015, which then led to me completing a level 2 Business Administration course 12 months later. My day to day role within the company nowadays is to sell exhibition stands for our four regional education events, known as the Education and Academies show series. I began working on these events following on from the successful completion of my apprenticeship course.

Prior to beginning my apprenticeship, I was uncertain about my career path. I had trialled university for a while and figured out that it wasn’t quite right for me. At this stage I realised I was looking for something where I could learn and feel valued as a member of a team but also feel a sense of accomplishment. I overheard somebody I knew talking about an apprenticeship at a local events company and I instantly wanted to know more.

Despite there still being a lack of knowledge and understanding around apprenticeships, they are increasingly gaining recognition across a variety of sectors and are now available as a degree qualification. This proves the historic stigma surrounding apprenticeships is constantly changing for the better. Participation was at a record level in the UK last year with nearly 900,000 qualified, unqualified, younger and older apprentices undertaking a qualification in the workplace – I was fortunate enough to be one of those. ”

A great environment for learning essential business skills

” Revolution Events provided me with the platform to learn and develop transferable skills within the workplace, not only gaining a detailed perspective on how the company and events work but also learning about different aspects of business administration alongside my qualification.  Claire and Deborah, our Event Directors, set aside time to ensure I could complete coursework for the apprenticeship and manage day to day workloads. Revolution’s supportive, caring and encouraging attitude helped me to take advantage of every opportunity to excel.

From beginning my apprenticeship in 2015, being offered a full-time position in June 2016 and completing my apprenticeship four months later, I’ve been fortunate enough to do things that wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for my placement and for the team around me.  A few examples of career-changing opportunities are:

  • Presenting an award on stage with comedian Rob Beckett at one of our international awards ceremonies
  • Watching Brian Blessed live at the IRMS Conference 2016
  • Driving hovercrafts and quad bikes for the first time at our annual company summer day
  • To my horror, my colleagues persuaded me to ride on my first ever rollercoaster at our work Christmas party (the photographic evidence isn’t a pretty sight!)

And finally, the most exciting part… receiving my first business card! ”

From new apprentice to keynote speaker in just 18 months

” However, the most challenging part was yet to come. As a novice public-speaker… and a terrified one at that, when the opportunity arose for me to make a presentation about my experience so far, it’s safe to say the nerves kicked in! I was fortunate enough to have been nominated for Catch 22’s Apprentice of the year by my tutor, Sarah, which made the experience slightly surreal.

The line-up included current trends, advice, questions, answers and of course the celebration of the best achievements the apprenticeship community had to offer. We heard from industry experts, previous and current employers and of course, us, the apprentices ourselves. So as the final award of the day was being announced, I realised I was just happy to be there and certainly wasn’t expecting the Head of Business Services at Barclays to announce my name as Apprentice Learner of the Year!

In an unplanned Q&A at the end of my presentation, I was asked by a member of the audience, “How far have you come since beginning your apprenticeship at Revolution Events?”  This made me think about how far I really had come personally and professionally over the last 18 months – so many achievements that would never have seemed possible. Here I was, sat in front of an audience of over 60 business men and women talking about my experience at Revolution so far.

I came to the company with a limited understanding about apprenticeships and more importantly the events industry. I feel that I have finished my qualification with a great understanding of business processes that will really support my new career in business-to-business event management – and Revolution seem to agree! ”