DYW Orkney’s Modern Apprentice Natasha organised the ‘Orkney and Apprenticeships: Skills for the Future’ information event as part of her qualification. In the sixth instalment of her blog, she talks about was involved in the organisation of the event and how this experience will benefit her in the future.
Being organised is a personality trait of mine; my friends even call me the ‘Organisation Queen’. This is one of the reasons I love my job, I get to help plan and organise all sorts of meetings, campaigns and events.
I am a keen learner and want to develop my career as much as possible while undertaking my Modern Apprenticeship. When my line manager and I were selecting the units for my SVQ Level 3, we found the ‘Organise and Co-ordinate Events’ unit which I was keen to do. To help me achieve this unit, I was given an extra responsibility - plan an event for Scottish Apprenticeships Week 2019.
I worked in partnership with Orkney College’s Promotion and Student Facilities Officer - Ewan Kennedy to organise the ‘Orkney and Apprenticeships: Skills for the Future’ information event.
First, we has meetings to brainstorm ideas so that we could create a plan for the event. Here we decided what we wanted the event to be, who it would be aimed at, where we wanted to hold the event and when we would hold the event.
We decided to hold an information event for young people and parents, to educate them about apprenticeships in Orkney. It would be held on the Wednesday of Scottish Apprenticeships Week to coincide with a national DYW campaign called ‘Scotland’s Biggest Parent’s Evening’.
Once we had made these decisions, we moved onto planning the content. We agreed that I would be the event presenter, as this would display the opportunities apprenticeships can give you. This also allowed me to work toward my two presentation units. I loved researching the content for the presentation and using my creative skills to make an engaging MS PowerPoint Presentation. During this stage, we also worked together on writing the event description, I created an image for the event promotion and evaluation forms.
Then we moved onto finding other apprentices and employers to speak at the event. This involved thinking about the different sectors in Orkney and then I contacted them. I was initially nervous about being the one to contact the employers and apprentices because I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to speak but everyone was really positive and wanted to be part of the event.
In the week leading up to the event, I got more nervous. This was the first event that I had a lead role in organising so, of course, I wanted it to be perfect and exceed expectations. These nerves were, however, a blessing in disguise as they fuelled my drive to work hard and made me think about what else I could do to make the event run smoothly. I was the event presenter, so my anxieties made me want to practice my presentation to make sure it looked good, sounded right and that I was comfortable with the equipment I would be using. This helped me find a problem with the video embedded in the presentation, which we were able to solve by loading the video separately and have someone switch windows on my signal.
On the morning of the event, Ewan and I arranged the posters and information leaflets and I did my last couple of practices of the presentation to become more confident.
At the event, as well as presenting, during the networking session I chatted to young people and parents about my apprenticeship and signposted them to guests who worked with apprentices in the sector they were interested in. I love speaking about apprenticeships so I was in my element!
In the days following the event, I spent my time collating feedback from young people, parents and guests and I wrote a press release about the event.
Organising this event taught me a great deal about the planning processes and the co-ordination that goes on behind the scenes of an event. This experience gave me the chance to test what works well when organising an event and what I can improve next time to make the process as efficient as possible. A key learning point I took is to contact guest presenters as soon as a date for the event has been decided, this way I can contact a range of sectors and the guest presenters have more time to get ready for the event.
Throughout, I was able to improve my written communication skills. Working with Ewan to write the event description allowed me to learn what should be included, the best language to use and which organisations to send this to. Emailing employers and apprentices to speak at the event allowed me to practice writing instructions and communicate what was required of them. Finally, after the event I learned the best practice for writing press releases with help from my line manager and Ewan.
Organising the ‘Orkney and Apprenticeships: Skills for the Future’ information event as part of my Modern Apprenticeship will benefit me greatly in the future. I will be able to use the transferable skills I developed through this experience in the rest of my career. I now know I am fully capable and can handle the responsibility of organising events, which has boosted my self-confidence and professional confidence massively.
I am the Administration Assistant for DYW Orkney and I am a Modern Apprentice. I completed my SVQ Level 2 in Business and Administration in August 2018 and I am now studying for my SVQ Level 3 in Business and Administration.