Apprenticeships: A progression route for everyone

Robyn Canner

After successfully completing her A' Levels at Brookfield Community School in Chesterfield, Robyn knew she didn't want to go on to university, so applied for apprenticeships where she could be paid to work and train at the same time. 


Robyn, working with Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service, used NAS - the National Apprenticeship Service - to find out which Derbyshire companies were looking to recruit Business Administration Apprentices. She applied to and accepted a position with Franke Sissons in August 2013 as a purchasing apprentice working in supply chain and procurement.

Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service supported Robyn to complete her NVQ Level 2 in Business and Administration as well ICT Functional Skills at Level 2; a crucial part of achieving her apprenticeship. Robyn said:

"My assessor helped and encouraged me to produce the best work I possibly could and was always approachable and honest with me."

Sarah Craig, the supply chain manager at Franke Sissons, said:

"Robyn's job role has evolved enormously as she has learnt at a progressive pace. This has been a very much 'hit the ground running' role, in which Robyn has thrived. During the past 12 months Robyn has shown great initiative in her day to day work, taking on board new challenges with good humour and making insightful suggestions on areas of improvement in daily processes."

Robyn faced many challenges in her first year and being on an apprenticeship has helped her overcome her lack of confidence. She speaks to suppliers on the telephone, has completed PowerPoint presentations to other employees, attended management meetings and now works confidently in her daily tasks and looks forward to participating in larger projects. Robyn was also pivotal in sourcing and coordinating the materials required for a newly-commissioned sculpture near to Chesterfield Coach Station which has recently been unveiled by the Mayor.

Robyn was also nominated for the Derbyshire Times Apprentice of the Year Award and achieved a highly commended apprentice award. This competition seeks to recognise the hard work and dedication put in by those starting out in their careers. This annual award is open to any individual taking part in an apprenticeship scheme and judges look for candidates who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and effort to make their apprenticeship succeed. In addition, Robyn is continuing with her studies and has just started a 2 year training programme in CIPS (Advanced Certificate in Procurement and Supply) and continues with Franke Sissons' internal training where she is will spend time in other departments to provide her with an overview of the whole company.

Robyn says:

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship and feel I am making a positive contribution to Franke Sissons'. My dream role would be to complete a Post Graduate Scheme within the company and work abroad."