National Apprenticeship Week - Interview with Teri Preston
08 Feb 2023
Its National Apprenticeship Week, and we've caught up with one of our colleagues Teri Preston, who recently completed our Project Manager apprenticeship. She reflects on her experience and how it set her up for her current role as Assistant Project Manager.
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What role are you doing now, and how do you feel the apprenticeship readied you for it?
I'm now an Assistant Project Manager in the Regional Investment Programme, working on Major Projects. The project management qualification provided me with the knowledge, but the two years of varied work experience really gave me the confidence to do the role.
Now you've finished your apprenticeship, how would you summarise the experience?
The placements across many different departments gave me a deeper understanding of the business, and how the wider elements of project management sit within it. The support from my apprentice peers, project teams and wider colleagues was also invaluable. Everyone really wants you to do well and succeed, and their investment in me and my goals was so encouraging.
What were some of the key skills or learning moments that the course provided you with?
The standout skill I took from the course was how much it built my confidence as a working individual, which I know will be so valuable throughout my career. It helped me develop my communication skills, present my views and challenge others. I was also able to learn from really good examples of leadership, how to lead a team myself.
What was your proudest moment?
Winning both regional and national apprentice of the year was definitely the highlight for me. To be nominated by colleagues was so encouraging and the highest compliment!
How do you think the apprenticeship will add value to your career long term?
I think the broad experience puts you in a really strong position to understand if there are any areas you'd like specialise in or focus on long term. I also feel the challenge of working and studying at the same time sets you up to do additional training and qualifications throughout your career.
This was your advice last year for anyone thinking about an apprenticeship at National Highways -
I would highly recommend the apprenticeship programmes at National Highways and would suggest for everyone to apply. The work is really varied and interesting and the support I’ve received has been great. I’d suggest utilising the resources on the various websites catered for individuals applying to apprenticeships to get a feel if an apprenticeship is right for you and understand what to expect.
Is there anything you'd add now you've finished it?
I'd add to try have a good idea of what you want to get out of the apprenticeship and be upfront about that from the beginning. Having the confidence to communicate the area's you're interested in the most so that these can be supported and facilitated where possible. Also take the opportunities and mentorship people offer, the networks you'll of built by the end will be so valuable.
You can read our previous interview with Teri here - https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-roads/south-west-news/south-west-apprentice-teri-preston/ and find out more about our graduate, placements and apprenticeships here - https://careers.nationalhighways.co.uk/graduates-placements-and-apprenticeships/