Hi I’m Ella, I’m 17 years old, and I’ve been an apprentice at Smile for 6 months now. I always knew that I wanted to do an apprenticeship and not go down the sixth form/college route like everyone else around me. I hadn’t seen Smile or been to any of their events before I started here but as soon as I saw the job description I knew it was the job for me! Working at Smile I’ve learnt that no two days are the same and you could be sat on the floor sticking plastic bees to honey in the run up to the volunteer awards or you could be creating a massive spreadsheet for the NHS trusts the next day.

Usually I get into the office about 8:30am, I then figure out what type of day it is going to be and what I am going to be doing. Usually I will be responding to emails from people about the new Beecan system we have launched and providing help to them through the system. When it gets to 9am the calls start to come in, I am the first point of contact when people phone smile and I aim to help everyone as best as possible, or direct them to the best place.

In the run up to the new Inspire CAMHS unit opening up I was doing A LOT of online shopping! The list was endless, ranging from bubbles to games consoles. I had anywhere up to 5 different shopping lists from different stores going on my screen at a time, where I am trying to juggle the best price and availability, it was manic. I could really see the importance of this task as it made sure that funds raised by the community were able to go as far as possible. My days consisted of roaming the internet for different toys and games to fill the unit with (I never thought I would be doing that for a job). Seeing the process from the spreadsheet of different games, to finding and buying them, to storing them in me office in piles for weeks on end (yes, it was a little cramped at times), then to actually go and put them all in the unit and know the impact they are going to have on a young person’s life is incredible.

I am so lucky to have ended up with such an amazing apprenticeship after being uneasy about where I would go after I had finished school, no two days are the same here and I couldn’t be happier with my role. I would recommend anyone to do an apprenticeship.

Ella Parkinson