Georgina Curtis started her career as a HR Business Administration apprentice at the Greater London Authority, and has now progressed onto a Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship at L’Oréal.

Georgina Curtis, 20, studied for three A levels at Redborne Upper School in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, but, unlike all her friends who wanted to go to university, she wanted to secure an apprenticeship.

Georgina explained: “Because I’m dyslexic, the education system wasn’t always the easiest learning environment. I’m such a practical learner, I wanted to get into the workplace and get the feel for a particular sector or area.

“Apprenticeships weren’t the done thing at my school and there were times I felt people were questioning my decision and thinking university is the only route to become successful.”

When Georgina was unsuccessful in securing the apprenticeship she had her heart set on, she did enrol at university. She stayed just two months. “I didn’t get the support that I wanted and needed for my dyslexia and I left,” she said. “After a challenging recruitment process, I was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship with the Greater London Authority (GLA).”

Georgina’s HR Business Administration apprenticeship started in March 2020, and she soon found that her employer and apprenticeship provider, Seetec Outsource, were able to support her to overcome the challenges presented by her dyslexia.

She said: “I loved the job because it gave me a great opportunity to get a feel for the working world and to create an amazing network of different people internally and externally. It allowed me to not only learn new skills, but to put them into practice.”

Her role in organisational development included focusing on diversity and inclusion and helped her to develop a wide range of transferable skills. Having secured a distinction in her apprenticeship, Georgina soon found she was in a strong position to apply for new opportunities.

“My apprenticeship was the best thing that ever happened to me. I enjoy working, getting involved in projects and seeing the results,” she said.

Applying for several new roles, she found she had many examples of her work to talk about at interview and could relate to the competencies required. “Employers were taken aback by how much knowledge and experience I had gained through my apprenticeship,” she said.

Georgina has now started a new Brand Engagement role with cosmetics giant L’Oréal’s Luxe Division and is excited for her future. Her new position includes a degree level apprenticeship in chartered management.

“My apprenticeship has provided me with such fantastic skills, that now I’m doing a degree through the apprenticeship route. I’m extremely ambitious and motivated to develop my career,” she said.

“I’m in a better position than many of my friends at university who will come out in a year with no workplace experience and no real-life experience of how to apply for jobs and be interviewed. I personally see an apprenticeship as a fast-track.

“Nearly every job description requires experience and it’s hard to get relevant work experience. When you graduate, companies don’t necessarily want to spend the time and money training you up and the person with experience gets the job.”

Georgina will be moving to London in September, having saved some of her apprenticeship earnings to help fund her flatshare.

She concluded: “I’m considering contacting my old school as I’d love to give a talk to let students know about the different options – apprenticeships weren’t spoken about enough and yet they are another route to career success.”

Find out more about apprenticeships here.