I’m Claire, 19 years old and have been working at Applegate for a little over 12 months now - the time has gone within a blink of an eye, it’s hard to think I am now a year into my five-year workplace degree programme!

I started in September 2016 and went straight into an Account Executive role; helping to get clients set up on the site, showing them around the site and how to edit and upload their own content. I was then approached by the Finance Department in early October, who needed an additional credit controller for a short time. I must admit I had my reservations - and talking to clients over the phone unsettled me and I felt frequently nervous, as I am a very quiet and shy person. No fear though; I loved it and the more calls I made, the more I enjoyed it. Throughout October I spent my mornings in the finance department and the afternoons as an Account Executive, until moving to Finance full time in November, where I still am now but my role has expanded to cover a lot more aspects than solely credit control. I would say this role has brought me out of my shell and made me a more confident individual in all aspects of my life. The support and patience from everyone in Applegate has been immeasurable.

Joanna, Jon and I attend University every Tuesday afternoon from 1pm where we undertook four modules in our first year: Business Accounting, Economics, Organisational Behaviour, and Developing Graduate Skills. I enjoyed college a great deal, the part time degree course was very small with only 8 students including us, so we all got to know each other well. The lecturers were brilliant and very supportive, understanding we were working alongside studying as it could be challenging to juggle my work/life balance at times, since I live on a working farm. This year we are studying four further modules: Marketing, Project Management, Human Resource Management and Sustainability in Business and I cannot wait to delve deeper into these subjects. Over the course of my first year, combining both exams and written assignments, I achieved a 2.1 class degree which I hope will set me up well for future years and assignments.

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