It was double delight for a Norwich business apprentice who scooped a BPP Apprentice of the Year award for the second year running!
James Davis followed up his BPP Apprentice of the Year Awards (Level 4) 2016 win with a BPP Apprentice of the Year Awards (Level 4) 2017 accolade.
James, a Market Research apprentice with Atticus Research, was awarded first place ahead of Fiona Wright (ATT, PKF Francis Clark Limited), Alice Johnson (AAT, KPMG), Toby Venning (CFAB, BDO) and Sian Jones (AAT, Scottish Water).
“To win this award again is just fantastic. It’s really nice and humbling to be recognised for your work and also for something I love,” the 19-year-old said.
It’s been a whirlwind start to James’ working life since he first joined Atticus Research two years ago.
He’s been involved in projects with large companies such as Citizens Advice and Vanquis Bank, was a commended runner-up in last year’s Market Research Society Awards, and is also a Business Ambassador at Norwich City College where he gives inspirational talks to budding businessmen and women.
Commenting on his achievements so far, James fondly recalls a seminar he attended at the age of 17 which ultimately changed his career path and led to his Atticus Research successes.
“I was studying business and finance at college and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do next and whether university was right for me. Then a guest speaker, Matt Dobbin (Founding Director of Atticus Research), came into college to talk to us about market research and it just opened my eyes up to where my career could be headed,” he said.
“After the seminar, I approached Matt and asked about work experience. I didn’t think it’d go any further, but then he got in touch to offer a placement with Atticus to help a project they were working on with the BBC, which was going to help determine how ‘The Big Weekender’ would take shape.
“I had the opportunity to fully get involved in the project and got a glimpse into the working world. I knew then that I wanted to do an apprenticeship.”
James was later offered a full-time position as a Research Executive with Atticus. Alongside his research role, James is completing a Level 4 Diploma in Business apprenticeship with BPP Professional Education.
“I enjoy work and my apprenticeship studies so much. No two days are the same and there is always a new challenge,” said James who is beginning BPP’s Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship in September 2017.
“BPP has been fantastic with me and so supportive throughout. I’m able to dedicate time for my apprenticeship and keep on top of my work because it’s flexible.
“It’s hard work, there’s no doubt about it. When I first joined too, I did have to raise my game because I knew people would look at me, see I’ve got a baby face and think I wasn’t old enough or up to the job!
“But now I’m getting direct contact from clients because I’ve built those relationships and proved what I can do.”
Su Lawson, Business Apprenticeships Programme Lead at BPP Professional Education, is mentoring James through his apprenticeship and highlighted his drive to meet crucial deadlines in the workplace.
She said: "The level of his submitted work is easily of a distinction standard due to his ability to understand theoretical concepts, provide explanations and show application to his own job responsibilities. It is always a pleasure to teach James and I am sure he will continue to progress to higher levels of education and training to enhance his promising career."
When it comes to offering top tips to others in a similar position to him, James added: “My advice to apprentices would be to work hard, step up and be confident. Learn everything you possibly can and you will go from strength to strength.
“With the Apprenticeship Levy coming into play this year too, I think this is a really crucial time for apprentices, and firms can hopefully see the benefits they bring to their workforces.”