To overcome low self-esteem by
becoming an apprentice
becoming an apprentice
Kayleigh is a Level 4 Associate Project Management apprenticeship at Croydon Council. Working as an apprentice has helped her overcome low self-esteem.
My name is Kayleigh Bourne and I am doing a Level 4 Associate Project Management apprenticeship with the Public Health team at Croydon Council. Prior to this apprenticeship I was unemployed for the better part of a year (bar some unpaid work with a Job Centre and a traineeship with BT) and I was torn between apprenticeships and university.
So far, what I most enjoy about working at the council is the fact that I’m actually being productive, that I’m contributing to something and actually making a difference – this is particularly true since I’m part of the Public Health team. I also enjoy the culture – all of the other staff members I’ve met so far have been very welcoming, and that makes all the difference to a work environment.
I’m proud of every time that I’ve been able to help someone else – this might sound trivial to most, but I’ve had low self-esteem for a while and so haven’t had much faith in myself or my abilities, but every time someone comes to me for help or support and I’m able to help them (which, so far, has been most of the time!) has been an achievement for me. Overcoming my low self-esteem is my main challenge, one that I haven’t gotten over entirely, but each achievement is a step towards doing that.
When I was in sixth form I, like almost everyone else, was strongly encouraged to go to university; I was accepted but I spooked before I actually finished the application – the idea of moving to a completely new area where I didn’t know anyone was terrifying to me. I spent a year looking for work and eventually realised that an apprenticeship would offer me a combination of comfort (in that I wouldn’t have to move away from home before I was ready) and practical skills (one of the things that made me nervous about going to university was the fact that I’d have to get a part-time job even though, as far as I believed, I didn’t have any skills to offer to get a decent job that I was also happy to do). A family member told me that the council was offering apprenticeships so I jumped on it before I had the chance to spook myself out of another opportunity. When I was told what apprenticeships were available to me, I decided that I’d gone without a challenge for too long and chose the one that I was told was the hardest. I haven’t regretted it so far.
The one thing I’d like people to know about me is that I overthink – a lot. I can usually brush off all of the potentially damaging questions that pop up in my head but there have been times when my overthinking can be debilitating – I’ve missed many opportunities to grow just because my overthinking kept me in my safe little bubble, including the opportunity to go to university. I would like people to know this about me because I can then say, as someone who always overthinks things but successfully overcame it to get where I am now, that it’s okay to do things that scare you that sometimes the scary and new things are exactly what you need to grow.
Since starting my apprenticeship I’ve learned that I’m actually capable of a lot of things, that I do have skills that are good for the workplace. I’ve also learned that I enjoy working in Public Health; I’ve known for a few years that I want to work in an area that allows me to help people but I’d never heard of Public Health before my apprenticeship.
If I met my younger self, I’d tell her that she has more to offer than she realises and that she should be more confident in applying for apprenticeships (which I’d encourage above standard jobs because I know that the nature of them eases any anxieties surrounding her lack of knowledge of the average workplace); I’d also encourage her to apply for apprenticeships in areas that she would enjoy, as that makes a world of difference to a person’s capacity to fulfil their role well.
My choice of ‘doing an apprenticeship’ works for me because I’m learning new skills that are useful in almost any job and it helps me build my confidence, either by revealing to me what I can do already or by offering me opportunities to improve the skills I need to work on, but it also offers me a certain comfort in that I’m not expected to entirely know what I’m doing – which was very comforting when I first started.