By Miranda Reilly 
Leanne Daniel, Human Resource (HR) Administrator Apprentice 

Leanne works with University Administration and Services, which includes overseeing the personal inquiries and recruitment panel inboxes. A perk of the job, for her, are all the events and talks she gets to go to – plus access to the University’s beautiful buildings! 

    Tell us a bit about yourself – do you have any particular hobbies, for example, or a favourite place in the world?
Hm, I do enjoy the Caribbean – I was born there and came over to England when I was two. My hobbies probably include… cooking, reading books, going to the gym. I’m quite into electronic music; I tend to go see DJs.

·         Can you talk us through an average day in your apprenticeship?
Well the first thing I do is check my emails – I’m looking after the personal inquiry inbox, which gets emails about sickness, probation, reference requests for people looking to buy a mortgage and other things like that. I also do the recruitment panel inbox: I’m the person who starts the whole recruitment process by raising staff requests for there to be a vacancy for recruitment.

·         That sounds like quite a lot of responsibility?
Yeah, quite a bit if I mess up! But my line manager is always checking my accuracy, so I do get support with what I’m doing which is good.

·         You mentioned when you came in that you’re also going to college?
Yeah, so the way I get my formal qualification is by going to college one day a week for a period of weeks. Right now I’m learning Functional Skills in IT, which runs for about five weeks, then added onto that five week period, there’s eight weeks for the business admin side of the apprenticeship. At the end of those I’m required to take exams to get a Level 2 Business Admin qualification – but at least once a month I meet with my college assessor who sets me unit work to do within the time that I see her.

·         So did you always want to go into this career, or did you have other plans?
It was quite a jump: I did forensic science last year, but after doing research into Human Resources and Business Admin, I found out that I could branch out into any field through HR and Admin, so if I wanted to go into science, I could still do that but through helping with business and admin.

·        Did you have any doubts about apprenticeships?
Yeah, there were various reasons for having doubts: the first reason was that it’s not seen as a successful option, the second reason was the pay: the minimum pay for apprenticeships is £3.40, which is ridiculous – even with my parents, the first thing they said was ‘How are you going to survive? The money isn’t enough for the amount of hours you’re putting in.’

·         How do you find the pay at Oxford?
That’s why Oxford are quite great since they pay the Living Wage. It’s fantastic: I’m being paid quite well to earn a qualification, so the opportunity is amazing.

·          Do you enjoy what you do?
Yeah it’s great, I love the team that I work with. Even outside of my immediate team, people who work here are friendly, welcoming and helpful. The best part is the opportunities I get: I’m allowed to work quite closely alongside Clive, the apprentice manager, and he invites me to events and talks. Recently I went to see Sir Michael Fallon, who spoke on science – it was very interesting. Having access to these things is incredible.

·         Have you been able to work with or meet many other apprentices?
I’ve met quite a few apprentices through events. I did a careers festival at BMW where I met some apprentices I wouldn’t have met at UAS because they’re working in other departments; I met one apprentice working at one of the Nuffield Hospitals. When I started, I also had quite a few meetings with other apprentices, so I could meet them and stay in contact.

·         Do you like working in Oxford, as a city?
Yeah, it’s close to where I live and the buildings are incredible – now I work here, I have access to quite a few buildings. I’m planning to look at them in the summer a lot.

·         Any buildings in particular?
I’m probably going to go to the Bodleian, I’ve only seen it from the outside.

·         So what is your advice for students at school considering apprenticeships?
I want to be that free spirit that just says go for it, do what you want, haha … but make sure you’re not ruling out other options: look at all the options – apprenticeships, university. Listen to what you’re telling yourself, external people can advise you but you’re the person who’s going to be doing it. You need to know you will enjoy it and work to the best of your ability.

·         What would you say to parents who might put pressure on their child to go to university?
Parents need to be open to the idea of apprenticeships and how helpful they can be for growth. Not every child learns in that old-school textbook way, some require experience to learn something, practice it and get good at it. There are also chances to do higher apprenticeships, so you can still get a qualification at the end of it, so there’s opportunities there.

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Created by Sophie Bebb, University of Oxford Apprentice at the Said Business School.

Managed by Frances Murray, Apprentice Librarian Assistant at the Bodleian Libraries, and Megan Janes, Apprenticeship Administration and Communications Apprentice.