How a business analyst apprentice has thrived during 2020

One of Hounslow Council’s Business Analyst Apprentices Gurpreet Thethy has been able to upskill with an Estio apprenticeship during 2020. Here is what Gurpreet has to say about her experience during her apprenticeship.

Why did you decide to become an apprentice?

I personally love learning and have always ensured that I have the correct knowledge and experience in the field that I am working in. After a service restructure, I found myself in a role which wasn’t an area that I was totally familiar with or had any expertise in and in order to ensure I was able to do my job effectively, I decided to take the decision with support of my manager and family to apply for the apprenticeship in the middle of the first lockdown in March 2020.

Why Hounslow Council?

I have worked for Hounslow Council for over 10 years in various roles and am also a resident, so Hounslow would always be the natural choice for me. I am passionate about Hounslow, I have seen the Council change through many restructures and transformations and have in some way grown and developed with the Council. I appreciate that it has been extremely tough for public sector bodies in recent years to do more with less and in order to stay relevant I wanted to ensure that I am upskilled and moving in the same direction as my team, department and the organisation as a whole.

What did you do before you joined us?

I have been in Hounslow for 11 years, and before joining I worked for Brent Council in the Anti-Social Behaviour Team. I decided to move to Hounslow when my ideal job was created in my home town it was the perfect move for me, as I have never left since joining.

What did you study?

I did my BSC at Southbank University in Criminology and Psychology and have various qualifications e.g. mindfulness diploma, level 2 mentoring, train the trainer, reiki and am also currently completing a coaching diploma in my spare time.

What have you enjoyed most about the programme?

As I started my apprenticeship in September 2020 it has all been conducted online via virtual training sessions. However, I cannot fault them at all, as the training session and online resources and support have been super helpful and interactive. I enjoy learning new information and I have found that a lot of the content so far has been new and delivered in an engaging way.

Why do you think the apprenticeship programmes are important?

I have studied for various types of qualifications over the years from BTEC’s and Diplomas to NVQ’s and a degree. What I like about the apprenticeship programme is the learning ‘on the job’ aspect. Anything I learn in a virtual training class I am able to practice and demonstrate in the work place. The ongoing courses that are required to be completed every month also add value to developing my skill set. The apprenticeship is split up nicely with the modules and project portfolios and the regular support provided from my tutor and my technical advisor is really helpful.

Tell us a little bit about what you do for the Council?

I am a Business Analyst for the Community Enforcement and Regulatory services department. My role involves analysing current business processes to see how they can be more effective, I am an agent of change and work with all officers to work towards a common goal. I have spent some time working to automate and integrate forms for the department which made reporting easier for residents and less time consuming for officers. I am usually involved in multiple projects at any one time, all at different stages of the project lifecycle. I also volunteer as a mentor for an apprentice and work closely with the develop and learn team to help support the creation and delivery of key webinars for managers and staff on the new check in conversations. In previous years I have volunteered as work smart change agent and more recently as a culture change champion within the #1hounslow programme alongside my day job.

Would you recommend the programme to other young people and why?

Absolutely, for anyone who wants to gain a qualification and experience simultaneously there is nothing better than joining an apprenticeship scheme.

What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in your role since the pandemic?

I actually started the apprenticeship in September 2020 and applied during Spring 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. I felt that learning something new would also be helpful to my mind-set to keep me focused and to keep me on my toes. However having to work from home, home school and manage my health conditions have been challenging. Like most colleagues I am also really missing the social interactions with my peers and the buzz of the office environment, however am hoping that everyone stays safe during this unprecedented time.

What are you most proud of?

Being able to meet my portfolio project deadlines, while doing my day job, extra work with the develop and learn team as a culture change champion and eight hours of off the job training a week as well as trying to home school my young daughter. It has been hectic but keeping busy and prioritising workloads has helped me meet all my goals. I have received great support from my manager at work and family in order to be able to achieve my goals. I am also really pleased to have been recommended as an ‘outstanding apprentice’ by my apprenticeship training provider.

Anything else you want to add?

I would just like to add that in the current climate it is so easy to feel demotivated and overwhelmed, however I would really suggest reaching out to peers and family for support as well as using the time to reflect, relax and refocus.