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Ashgate Hospice > Apprenticeship Week: From trainee to team manager – by Charlotte Gratton

Charlotte Gratton started off her career at Ashgate Hospice 10 years ago by taking on a one-year Business and Administration apprenticeship; now she works as our Partnerships Manager. 

As part of Apprenticeship Week, Charlotte is sharing her story to outline how an apprenticeship can help you gain the knowledge and experience necessary to succeed in your career. 

I started at Ashgate Hospice in September 2013 as the Corporate and Events Apprentice, whilst studying a Business and Administration NVQ Level 2 alongside my role. I decided to complete an apprenticeship as I wanted to gain experience of working in events and could see the hospice’s events ranged from Woofs and Wellies sponsored dog walks to corporate Golf Days. I am a practical learner and a workplace-based apprenticeship meant I could learn on the job whilst earning a salary. 

I worked within a busy fundraising and communications team to assist with the planning and coordination of events.  

The apprenticeship lasted for a year it was entirely work-based, so there wasn’t a requirement to go to college. Along with gaining real-life working experience and knowledge, I had an assessor visit each month to review assignments and experience log that I needed to keep updated. 

After I completed my apprenticeship, the role of Events Fundraiser was advertised, which I was extremely excited about as this was the area I wanted to pursue as my career. I was successful and became responsible for organising all aspects of Ashgate’s fundraising events, which included the fun rebrand of the Midnight Walk into the now incredibly popular Sparkle Night Walk! 

I was supported by the hospice to undertake my Certificate in Fundraising and a Management Diploma to develop my skills. I then took on a new role of Partnerships Executive within the Fundraising Team to focus on corporate partnerships and events. 

Ten years on, I am now the Partnerships Manager within the Fundraising Team. I manage the Events Team who organise hospice events including the Sparkle Night Walk and support people taking on skydives and the London Marathon. The other side of my role is supporting individuals and companies wishing to make a difference, whether that is through donations, gifts-in-kind and sponsorship, while also applying to trusts and foundations for grants on hospice projects. 

Completing an apprenticeship with the hospice helped with my personal development; I learned what working in a charitable fundraising team was like, and it gave me the opportunity to learn from professionals. It boosted my confidence and provided me with the opportunity to grow within an organisation which I love working for. 

The best thing about the apprenticeship was that it helped me decide that a career in events was right for me and moreso, it opened my eyes to the third sector as an industry which I had never considered. I learnt so much about the broad range of care the hospice provides and the importance of what we do, it made me incredibly passionate about the cause and how organising fundraising events was able to directly impact patients and families.  

On a personal level, my apprenticeship helped with my financial stability, and I independently bought my first home in 2018, which was a great feeling.  

You may be wondering if an apprenticeship is the right thing for you. My advice is if you are a practical learner and want insight into an industry, it is a fantastic option to gain experience, qualifications and a position within a company. Whilst working within a business, you will also gain knowledge of other roles you may have not considered and learn so much from people around you.