WhiteHat’s Apprentice of the Month

My First Job — Elisha Frimpong

So, imagine having no clue where you’re headed in life and no sense of professional direction. Now I know, you may be thinking “Elisha, you are literally describing every 18-year-old.” But, for me this feeling was so foreign. Throughout school I’d change my dream career every 6-12 months. Politician, solicitor, doctor, you know one of those careers that my mum could tell all the family and friends about. I even wanted to join the circus for a bit (until I remembered how much exercise that would involve).

But then I left college and moved back to London and reality actually became real. I had no clue what I was doing for the first time in forever. Like many my age I felt that time was running out (bearing in mind I have only been 18 since April). I was putting my best foot forward, interview after interview and to no avail. I just wanted an employer to invest in me and give me an opportunity to show what I could bring to the table.

I remember my interview at Treethorpe. I ran around Canary Wharf for a solid 20 minutes trying to find the building, I was nearly late and then to top it all off David made me walk up the stairs! (And we all know how much I loathe stairs) but, I was so nervous, I had convinced myself I wasn’t going to get the job before we’d even got to the top of the stairs (I had also convinced myself I was going to go into cardiac arrest if the stairs didn’t end).

So, about two hours after I got home WhiteHat called me and told me Treethorpe wanted to offer me the role. Honestly, I was so shocked I had to ask if they were serious, this was definitely a mistake and there had definitely been a mix up.

Four months on and I’ve never felt so at home at work, you know? Being the companies first apprentice was quite daunting for me and it has not come without its challenges, I had to learn an entirely new set of skills, all these big key terms flying about – I had to start writing a glossary! I had to learn how to communicate more effectively and learn how to optimise my efficiency to support my team, but I am so lucky to have been welcomed by such an amazing family. It didn’t take me long to see that our people love what they do, and they do it so well. I really want to thank everyone for being so patient and helping me, especially in the areas where I have struggled.

Now, whilst it’s been an experience getting used to all these new things being a business administrator, it’s also been fun, and I never thought I’d be able to have fun at work. I mean, I know we don’t have an in-office arcade (I wouldn’t be opposed, might I add) but I don’t begrudge coming to work. I love everything from scanning Marta’s mountains of post to answering the phone to Richard and hearing him say “Hello so and so’s phone” and don’t even get me started on my love for the franking machine!

To summarise my story, I have never worked in a role like mine before, where I know my work is valued and I play an active part in things and am actually helping. I have never worked for a company like Treethorpe before, where families are sometimes reunited in what we do, and I can’t stress enough how grateful I am to have this opportunity. When I think about it now, I could not see myself as an apprentice anywhere else.

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