Sense of ownership fosters skills and growth: Holly Armstrong

Holly Armstrong, former school-based trainee at ASA
Holly Armstrong, former school-based trainee at ASA

If there’s one person who can shed light on what a school-based traineeship is like using personal experience at Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA), it’s Holly Armstrong.

And it all started with a question.

Or two, actually. When Holly was unsure about her own future and what to do post-school, it prompted her to consider a different learning pathway – leading her to take on a traineeship while still at school to hone her craft and work towards a qualification.

Holly, who has become a full-time employee as a Client Support Officer after completing a nine-month school-based traineeship at ASA, tells us how she became a trainee, challenges she encountered and lessons she has learned as she reached her first-year anniversary milestone.

Tell us about your role. What are the biggest challenges and how do you overcome them?

As a Client Support Officer, my role involves communicating with clients who need advice or help with any issues involving their apprentices/trainees and directing them to another ASA colleague if I can’t help.

I found this very difficult at first because I am a very reserved and quiet person. But over time, my role pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I became more confident in answering questions and asking for help when I needed it.

Can you describe your experience as a school-based trainee at ASA?

My experience was overall positive and was very beneficial for me. I was clueless on what I wanted to do career wise but being a school-based trainee at ASA was an eye-opening experience for me. During my traineeship, I was able to rotate between different teams, taking on different tasks and responsibilities. The different teams help jobseekers and employers in very different ways, which helped me understand what I enjoy and dislike about a job and eventually I was able to identify a career goal that I would like to work on.

How did your traineeship program prepare for your next role at ASA?

My traineeship helped me settle into my role a lot quicker. Instead of starting at a new place with zero knowledge on structure and processes, I had a good understanding of the organisation and it gave me confidence to take on new tasks and support clients.

Having completed a school-based traineeship, how would you describe the significance of apprenticeships and traineeships in empowering an individual? Would you recommend others to pursue this pathway?

I was very fortunate to be given this opportunity to be a trainee at ASA.

It was my vocational education and training coordinator at school who presented the school-based traineeship idea to me after I told them that I felt a bit lost at school and didn’t really know what I wanted to do afterwards. It was perfect timing since I was going into year 12 the following year and it would ease me into the workforce since that was my plan straight after school.

During my school-based traineeship, I was actively involved in different tasks, and the sense of ownership really helped me develop skills and grow.

I definitely recommend this pathway as it is an incredible opportunity (for a graduating student especially) to achieve a seamless transition from school to work.

What do you like the most and the least about your work?

There is nothing I like the least about my work! I become more confident as I slowly get familiar with tasks.

I really enjoy interacting with people, colleagues and clients, and hearing about them and their experiences while building relationships with everyone. It really helped me become more social and comfortable speaking to new people.

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