A Real Work Experience: Erin Abercrombie
My advice to anyone considering taking a Business Foundation Apprenticeship would be to take the opportunity. It will give you the chance to gain a good understanding of what it is really like working in an office.Erin Abercrombie
As part of our Early Career series, we speak to Erin Abercrombie, an Aberdeen school student, about her experiences completing a Business Foundation Apprenticeship at Proserv.
My name is Erin Abercrombie. I started my work experience with Proserv in September 2021 as a Business Foundation Apprenticeship Pupil from Westhill Academy in Aberdeen. For six months, I came to Proserv’s Corporate Headquarters in Westhill every Wednesday afternoon so that I could learn more about what it is like to work in an office.
Why did you want to do your apprenticeship in a corporate environment?
I wanted to do my apprenticeship in a corporate environment as I am interested in the legal side of business. I plan to study law and management at Robert Gordon University once I leave school. Work experience in a corporate business environment allows me to gain a realistic view of what my future career will consist of and the tasks and timelines to expect.
My main ambition for the future is to become a successful business lawyer. I believe working with Proserv has given me the right kind of experience and a wider knowledge of corporate business practices in general. This will all help in the future as I pursue my legal career.
How did you spend your time at Proserv?
While at Proserv, I spent four weeks at each department around the office, starting at HR, then shadowing a Personal Assistant (PA), then Logistics, Commercial, Finance and finally Marketing. The number of roles I shadowed was a real eye opener on what a corporate business has to offer, as well as the number and variety of corporate teams involved in helping Proserv to become the successful business it is today.
What are the highlights from your time with Proserv?
HR gave me a mock interview for a job in the HR team. I wrote a CV and covering letter and, for the interview, I learned to bring all my past experiences and qualifications into the questions being asked. This gave me a better insight into interviews. I now feel more comfortable and prepared for what to expect when I apply for a job in the future.
In the logistics department I was asked to plan and lay out the transportation of goods. I did this by using the government website to find the product numbers, which then gave me the size of the goods. After that, I was able to efficiently plan the packing of the container. This is not something I had done before and I found it interesting – not to mention I developed new skills as a result.
Commercial was fascinating. The team tasked me with helping to evaluate an aspect of Proserv’s environmental reporting on their facilities across the world, from Westhill to Abu Dhabi. To do this, I used Proserv’s Intranet to access the company’s records on gas, electric, waste and so on. My job was to identify any gaps in the record. I would then highlight green if the record had a file and an amount attached, yellow if there were gaps in the amounts and red if there was no files or attachments. This has helped me to understand the importance of ensuring work is complete, neat and well laid out.
What department did you most enjoy working with and why?
I enjoyed working with the logistics team the most. This is because, before I started, I did not have the slightest understanding of what logistics did. This meant I did not have any expectations and I therefore learned a completely new aspect of business. It also allowed me to learn new skills, such as planning and communication. However, I enjoyed working with all the departments. I did not experience any challenges at Proserv as all my mentors were supportive. If I had an issue or could not understand a piece of work, they were always there to help.
How have you benefitted from the experience?
The whole experience has been a real privilege. Before I started my placement, I was hoping to get a rough insight on what it is like working in an office and how a business grows. By moving around the organisation and working in the different departments, I gained a much deeper insight into what the corporate business sector is like.
What would your advice be to anyone considering taking this type of foundational apprenticeship?
My advice to anyone considering taking a Business Foundation Apprenticeship would be to take the opportunity. It will give you the chance to gain a good understanding of what it is really like working in an office.
Overall, I have really enjoyed having the opportunity working at Proserv. It has allowed me to learn new skills and gain more confidence in myself and my work. This whole experience has benefitted me as I have changed the way I work. I have become more strategic and produce better quality work as a result.