Meet the Learner: Sports Development Apprentice

Thu, June 16, 2016

Zara Clarke has been working with Active Essex for almost a year, based with Active Brentwood as a Community Services Apprentice. Covering a wide range of tasks and projects in her time with her host employer, she's almost at the point of finding her next challenge! Read on to find out more about Zara's experience.

“I’m doing a Sports Development Apprenticeship, which started last summer. I found and applied for the role on the gov website, looking at two different networks, Brentwood and Basildon. Our interview was at Chelmsford museum over two days, we were there on the Thursday for training to create a business plan and interview training to sell ourselves to the different networks. The Friday was informal interviews, 20 attended and only 5 were offered positions including me! I started the training in College at Chelmsford Museum until September and then went into the workplace.

My workplace is quite different to some of the other networks, though I work with really social people and feel like a part of the team and always have, my line manager is brilliant and we have a good relationship and levels of trust. I’m treated like an adult and as I’ve progressed I’ve been trusted with things like budgeting, research, managing meetings, minute taking and agendas.

My original job spec is still similar and describes what I do but I get to go beyond this now. Active Brentwood is my host employer though I take on roles with community events lots too. It varies each week and sometimes includes calling stallholders, taking payments for pitches for events, social media, as well as administrative tasks like collecting Gas Safety or Public Liability paper work. At Brentwood we design all of the artwork for promotional material internally but other councils outsource this.

I’ve been involved in two massive events now, the first was Lighting Up Brentwood – as part of the events team and I helped with managing the events, patrolling with a radio, bringing on stallholders, setting up, setting down, overall running and overseeing of the event. Shenfield took place the next day and was a long 24 hour event across the whole weekend. Also I covered site visits for health and safety, booking venues, planning and budgeting, on top of my every day Active Brentwood enquiries which come in.
I manage the volunteers for the community events too, as well as deal with new volunteers and taking their application and adding them to the central database.

It’s a lot more involved than I expected but that’s a good thing. The apprenticeship had a few teething problems at the start, as organisations often do but Active Essex and CSL both worked well to get us back on track!

I think my biggest life achievement so far is that at the age of 14 I secured a place at Arsenal Under 14s, I then was released to Chelsea Under 17s, playing three years up, we won the League and beat Arsenal in the FA Cup at Milton Keynes Stadium. My whole life has been dedicated to achieving what I want to achieve, now I feel like I’m achieving through working. My aim is to be an Events Manager for a big, sporting firm.

Being a part of the Events Management Team at Brentwoods largest events and having a Line Manager that really believes in me and supports me in the workplace has been the most valuable part of my apprenticeship. Also, I feel really supported by my tutor, Mike has always been keen to come and assess my projects, and he’s enthusiastic and always asks how I’m getting on at work.

My current Sportivate project starting 6th June – 11th July, this will be two different sessions, one at 4:30 and one starting at 6:30pm, another in the school holidays, 25th July – 29th August., 10:30-12pm. This consists of a one-hour bike ride and 30 minutes bike maintenance. It takes place at Thorndon Country Park for 14 to 25 year olds – if they complete all 6 sessions, they’ll receive £20 worth cycling vouchers as an incentive to complete. Its £18 for 6 sessions. Kickstarter Bike Project - In partnership with trailnet. We hope to encourage the inactive to be active and are really keen for people to come along and see how they get on!”

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