Meet Katie, Apprentice Clinical Trials Support Officer at the University of Oxford

Katie Chegwin, 19, is an Apprentice Clinical Trials Support Officer at the University of Oxford Botnar Research Centre, working towards Business and Administration Levels 2 and 3 at Abingdon & Witney College. The Medical Sciences Division is an exciting and challenging place to work; it’s an internationally recognised centre of excellence for biomedical and clinical research and teaching and is the largest of the four academic divisions within the University. 

Katie completed 3 AS Levels at John Mason School in Abingdon before starting her Apprenticeship in October 2015. Read on to find out why Katie chose to do an Apprenticeship and how it has benefitted her career so far.

Why did you choose to do an Apprenticeship?

I decided to do an Apprenticeship because I was going into my third year of sixth form after re-taking year 1 of AS Levels and, although I was happy to improve my grades at AS Level, I still thought I could do better. My B grade was from Business and this was the subject I enjoyed the most. An Apprenticeship gives me an opportunity to gain a Level 3 Business and Administration qualification whilst learning new skills in a working environment. I believe developing and applying your knowledge and skills in workplace situations whilst being paid is a good way to start a career.

How did you find out about your Apprenticeship?

I found out about my Apprenticeship by creating an account on the gov.uk apprenticeship website and searching for Business and Administration Apprenticeships. I submitted my application in August 2015 and, following a successful interview, started my Apprenticeship two months later.

What have you gained from your Apprenticeship – skills, experience etc?

I have gained many skills during my first six months and have used my own initiative to problem-solve. Being efficient and organised I find that I can pick up new skills quickly and prioritise tasks given to me to manage my time effectively. The experience I have gained includes working within a Clinical Trials team on numerous studies and also alongside team members from other departments. I am currently working towards my Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration, which I hope to achieve by October this year.

The Apprenticeship also offers me in-house training where I can attend training sessions on skills I would like to develop or improve. For example, I am attending a ‘meeting minutes taking’ class this month that is another useful skill that organisations look for. Other skills and experience that I have gained from my Apprenticeship include; communication skills by working with internal and external people, learning how training days are run, the organisation and management of confidential patient information as well as data entry into several databases. 

What do you plan to do next?

Once my Apprenticeship has finished I would like to progress within my company and hopefully have a permanent job here so I can develop my career further.

How will your Apprenticeship help you achieve this?

My Apprenticeship will help me achieve this as I will have gained new skills and experience in a working environment and will have a better understanding of how a business works from my Level 3 Diploma and on the job training. On a wider scale, I will also have a good understanding of how the University operates and how my department fits into this.

What advice would you give a young person who might be thinking about an Apprenticeship?

I believe that starting your career doing an Apprenticeship is a great way to get into the working world. My advice would be to go on the gov.uk Apprenticeship website and search for Apprenticeships that suits your skill set and interests and apply for those positions that match your key qualities. It is also important to research the company you are thinking of sending an application to, so you have an idea of the business they provide and whether this would interest you.

What advice would you give an employer who is considering employing an Apprentice?

Giving an Apprentice an opportunity to start their career in your organisation gives them a chance to be trained and gain a qualification whilst working as part of a team. It also gives you the opportunity to train them to your required standards from the start and I believe Apprentices are enthusiastic to learn new skills and gain new knowledge. 

Like to join Katie as an Apprentice at the University of Oxford?

There are lots of interesting and exciting Apprenticeship opportunities on offer within the different departments at the University of Oxford. Have a look at their vacancies page for info about current vacancies and see also the University of Oxford Apprenticeships website to find out more about the scheme and other opportunites available.