Nottingham Forest Coach on Mitre Group

By Eleanor Hurt, Marketing Assistant Apprentice at Mitre Group

Alex Toplis is Head Coach for Nottingham Forest Community Trust and has recently completed Mitre’s Level 3 Team Leader / Supervisor Apprenticeship, achieving the highest grade possible. As a new Apprentice myself, Alex kindly agreed to speak to me about his experience of the apprenticeship and what it’s like studying with Mitre Group.

What did you enjoy about your apprenticeship?

“I found the apprenticeship a really engaging and an effective way of learning”

Alex told us how pairing ‘classroom learning’ alongside working full time he was able to put theory into practice quickly. t This effective way of learning seemed to ‘stick’ more, rather than methods though his previous studies in school and college.

How have you found balancing your time?

“It can be tough because you’re balancing a full-time job and course work”

This is often the biggest challenge for apprentices, however with Mitre we support employers to give their apprentice 20% off the job time with a blend of ‘fixed and flexible’ learning activities. Alex’s advice is to ‘keep organised and stay on top of everything, set yourself time where you’re just going to focus on your course work’, wise advice if you ask me! Alex was able to balance his time well and he was able to see how effective it was in his achievement.

How was using OneFile and the other systems and the technicalities of your apprenticeship?

“I found them (the systems) all pretty straight forward, my Tutor was really helpful and talked us through everything step by step, it got easier as we went along”

All apprenticeships at Mitre use the E-Portfolio system ‘OneFile’ to set and complete work, keeping work paperless and simple. Alex was an expert in OneFile by the end of his course, as we hope all our apprentices will be!

What was your drive to start the apprenticeship?

“I wanted to develop myself. I felt I was getting too comfortable in my job, so I wanted to push myself to get onto that next step”

Alex is a strong-willed person who always strives for improvement and at work is not different, he is always striving to be better and undertaking this apprenticeship shows that.

What are three bits of advice you would give to a new apprenticeship?

1. Know your deadlines! Make sure you are organised and meet them every single time. 2. Crack on with it, attack it the best you can, just go in headfirst. 3. Enjoy it! It’s a different way of learning so make sure you take it all in because it brings out the best of you

As an apprentice myself I will certainly be taking Alex’s advice on this one! Mitre Group pride themselves in making the apprenticeships engaging for learners, and I’m glad to hear it is working! With Alex’s advice and the support from tutors I'm sure all our apprentices will be able to achieve high grades and learn effectively how to improve themselves in the workplace.

What was the highlight of your apprenticeship?

“When we started the apprenticeship most of us were furloughed so being able to jump on the call with the other apprentices was so nice because we were all scratching our heads for something to do so it and everyone was in that same boat”

Alex’s group started in the summer of 2020, at a time where the COVID pandemic meant they were unable to work; however, this did not stop Mitre delivering session! For Alex this was nice as it was a sense of normality when stuck at home.

Did you enjoy working with other apprentices?

“Yeah definitely because everyone has different ways of doing things so if you’re struggling you can try their way”

Alex worked with a group of 6 learners, all from different sporting backgrounds meaning they were often able to share experiences and learn from each other. Mitre Group pride themselves on making sure learners are comfortable with each other and enjoy their time on programme. They run an adventure learning experience designed to further the relationships between learners to continue that combined learning experience. I personally can’t wait to meet other Marketing Assistants on my programme!

What would you say to anyone who’s looking to do an apprenticeship with Mitre?

“They’re a really friendly company, straight away my Tutor made everyone feel comfortable and at home. Amazing to work with!”

Thank you, Alex, for your feedback! And a final congratulations! From all at Mitre we wish you the very best with your future!

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