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National Apprenticeship Week 2021

Posted on February 2021

Man and two women smiling to camera

“Build the Future” is the theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2021.In support of this annual event and to celebrate the opportunities apprenticeships can open up, we spoke to three of our brilliant apprentices; Bianka Bartok (BB), Yusuf Karapinar (YK) and Nora Streanga (NS) about the skills and knowledge they have learnt while undertaking their apprenticeship.

What made you decide to take an apprenticeship?

B B - My aim was to develop my skills and gain the knowledge I needed to succeed in my career. An apprenticeship is the perfect opportunity to learn and progress.

Y K - The opportunity to gain a qualification which is recognised in the Credit Management Industry which will improve my skills and knowledge in this sector.

N S - I have worked for the company for a while, and although I know the basics of my role well, I wanted to find out more and was eager to learn. As my role involves processing payroll for temporary and interim workers, I knew there were skills that I would not develop otherwise - so through doing my apprenticeship I can gain more knowledge and experience.

How has your learning impacted your job?

B B - One of the biggest advantages of the apprenticeship is being able to put the skills I learn into practice. Learning and doing something that I enjoy every day brings out the best of me and my tutor has always been there to show me how things are done.

Y K - It has improved me as a young professional, not only has it improved my knowledge in credit management but also in skills such as teamwork and management.

N S - By doing an apprenticeship l have learned more and have developed a deeper understanding of payroll as a whole. For example, in my role I am not involved with pensions but having taken this module I now understand this element. I believe it adds another layer of knowledge. By doing my job I have got to know all the basics and the apprenticeship has added more in depth understanding.

Has any of your learning impacted you outside of work?

B B - I have developed a lot of existing skills and knowledge throughout my apprenticeship. Apart from gaining knowledge in my field, it has included strengthening my organisation & planning skills and my presentation skills. The apprenticeship has also helped me to build my professional network.

Y K - Definitely, I believe there have been certain assignments and topics which I have learned that will help me outside of work such as decision making, motivation and team morale. Learning the importance of these skills has allowed me to apply them outside of work as well.

N S - Yes, I believe it has made me better understand the way in which Venn Group works and how our relationship as payrollers impacts the business. The work that we do is supported by all the other departments. Payroll is the outcome of everyone working together, and it ensures a good experience for the candidates.

Why and would you recommend for others to do an apprenticeship?

B B - I would 100% recommend doing an apprenticeship. It is the perfect opportunity to build on your knowledge and learn the key skills needed to succeed in your role and to build your professional network.

Y K - It is an opportunity to gain a qualification funded by your employer to boost your career so I would definitely recommend completing an apprenticeship.

N S - By doing an apprenticeship you get a nationally recognised qualification, meet new people and contacts, and have guidance and support throughout the journey. So why wouldn’t you take advantage of that! I’ve done a degree, but I do think apprenticeships should be looked as you learn so much and without getting into debt.

Is there any one you want to thank or speak about who has supported you during your apprenticeship?

B B - My manager and my directors have been very good at giving support and accommodating time for my apprenticeship. I have also received a lot of support from my tutor who has been extremely welcoming and helpful.

Y K - Firstly thank you to Venn Group for giving me this opportunity. Thank you to Kirsty MacDougall for organising this. Sean Frisby, my manager who has ensured I have met my deadlines! And also, a thank you to the credit control team and everyone else at Venn Group for the support.

N S - My manger Jo and my apprenticeship tutor Emma. Jo has been mentoring me since day one and she has been there through all my ups and downs, she has taught me everything I know so far. Emma, my tutor, was really supportive and when we moved to working from home, she was still there to support me.

When have you finished your apprenticeship…what next?

B B - After I have finished my apprenticeship, I hope I will have options to progress in my field.

Y K - So I have nearly completed the course, I have 2 assignments and an end point assessment all to be done by April. After this I would like to complete the next level in Credit Management.

N S - I will review what I want to do in the future and see what my next career step could be.


We are really proud of their achievements and asked Kirsty MacDougall our Head of HR, and Keith Wilmott, our Chief Finance Officer, about why they advocate apprenticeship so strongly.

“Using the apprenticeship levy to train and upskill our existing employees was a no brainer! Investing in our existing employees and showing mutual commitment has created an even stronger bond between employee and employer. The qualifications gained by our employees utilising the apprenticeship levy will be really beneficial to them and our business”

Kirsty MacDougall


“Venn Group has been proud to sponsor a number professional Apprenticeships since 2009, when it recruited three apprentices into the Finance and Operational support function.

Apprenticeships create a “Win-win situation” enabling apprentices the opportunity to learn skills on the job, gain a nationally recognised qualification while also earning a salary. In addition, skill gaps can be filled through the use of over 550 apprenticeship standards (Feb 2021). Employers can also benefit financially via the national Apprenticeship Fund.

When combined with existing learning and development programs Venn Group has benefited from a boost in productivity, continued loyalty while also contributing to enhanced staff wellbeing.”

Keith Wilmott