The power of networking: my experience at the ‘Apprentice Meetup’

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During National Apprenticeship Week, Apprentice Futures (the apprenticeship initiative of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers) collaborated with the Association of Apprentices to deliver a networking event. Imani Brown, a current Pearson apprentice, was lucky enough to attend the event. Read on to hear more about her experience…

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, last Wednesday I attended the ‘Apprentice Meetup’ organised by Apprentice Futures and the Association of Apprentices. There were over 170 apprentices there from lots of different employers, representing a diverse range of sectors. For those who may not know, National Apprenticeship Week takes place every February to celebrate the positive impact that apprenticeships make to organisations, individuals, and the wider economy.

While National Apprenticeship Week is a wonderful way to promote apprenticeships, it is also the perfect time to recognise current apprentices and the contribution that they make. This is why it’s important for communities like the Association of Apprentices to bring us together.

Additionally, it allows us to meet other apprentices across different industries and companies. For example, I am doing a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship and at the event, I got to meet other apprentices doing the same standard as me.

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The event was hosted at the Stationers Hall which was a lovely venue! In the first hour, they served food and drinks which gave us the opportunity to network with other apprentices. Networking is key to one’s development, it allows us to gain support networks that could better our professional and personal lives. For instance, during this part of the event, I met apprentices that had similar interests to me.

After this, Anne Ashworth, Liveryman with the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper makers/Apprentice Ambassador for Apprentice Futures and Emily Austin, CEO of the Association of Apprentices officially opened the event. They introduced special guest, Amy Hopper who delivered a development session about her journey.

Amy founded a digital agency at 25 but at 26 she got hit by a car, had a spinal fusion, and was wheelchair-bound. This led her to sell her agency and focus on prioritising her mental and physical health. Following this, Amy hiked 600km solo around Europe, founded a mental health consultancy group, became a sports fitness model, and now consults in business management, marketing, and performance!

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It was incredibly inspiring to hear Amy’s story and the advice she had for us. For me, the most important takeaway was to always celebrate our achievements, no matter how big or small and to not be afraid to set boundaries. It was this attitude that led Amy to recover from her accident and rediscover her passion.

Attending the networking event reiterated how crucial it is to continue to meet and engage with like-minded individuals. While apprenticeships are incredibly rewarding, working, and studying can be tough. Events like the ‘Apprentice Meetup’ really remind me of why I decided to take on an apprenticeship and allowed me the opportunity to celebrate with my peers.