To mark National Apprenticeship Week and celebrate Islington’s rising talent, we shine the spotlight on Eve Sarmaah, our Business Support Apprentice. Having secured an apprenticeship with us through Islington Working, Eve has become a vital team member and shares her story and highlights with us so far.
Before the pandemic, I studied Architecture at university, while also working in retail. It was challenging, but it allowed me to support my elderly mother, who I live with.
After lockdown, I had to make some difficult decisions. I stopped working, as my job involved interacting with lots of people. My biggest concern wasn’t just that I might catch Covid, but that I could pass it on to my mother as well.
Being stuck at home without a job, made me reconsider my options. I wanted to be able to look after my mum, but I wanted to start my career, not just take a job for the sake of it. I searched online for suitable vacancies and found the Islington Working jobsite.
Because I could tailor my search, the jobs I found were much closer to what I wanted to do. The iWork team really got to know me and helped me choose the right roles to apply for and to prepare for my interviews.
With Islington Working’s help, I secured a full-time role with Cripplegate Foundation as a business support apprentice and office manager in the Angel office.
Now, I’m in a job I love, while studying for my qualification. I can earn salary that helps me look after mum while building my career.
My biggest highlight of working at Cripplegate Foundation and Islington Giving has been experiencing the work that gets done and its impact. We have our different teams, which have specific responsibilities and I have numerous highlights from each team.
The highlights from the resources team, which I’m part of, is the fact that I get to implement all the things that make me, me – which is organisation, being a people-person, managing the office, setting up meetings and ensuring that anyone who comes though the door is comfortable, and they feel welcome. With the communications and development team, I will say the highlights are being able to use social media, seeing all our ideas come together, and organising great events.
The biggest learning curve that I've experienced in the organisation is the finance and grant-making part. Growing up in Islington, I was extremely naive, I was like, there's so many charities and huge organisations that I've grown up around, why are they not doing more in the borough? So, as soon as I got into a philanthropic organisation like Cripplegate Foundation, I was interested to know how grant-making works. I realised how complex it is, so figuring that out was definitely a curveball. And then realising how efficient and impactful it is, was the brighter side to it. Now to me it's straightforward and I see how it really stretches and casts a very wide net into the borough.
I would highly recommend apprenticeships to any young person and that they do their research. So if you've literally taken the traditional route of going from primary school, secondary school to college, try and give yourself maybe a gap year to work. Get some savings for yourself and see what's out there for you. See what your strengths are before you commit to one course and getting a degree for that specific course.
With apprenticeships, not only do you get to figure out yourself, but you also get paid for the time that you’re at the organisation. This compares to going to university, which is completely perfect and fine, but it’s basically about what suits you, what fits for you, and what your background and external factors are.
A different version of this article will feature in the next issue of Islington Life magazine.