Life as a Graduate Apprentice with ALIenergy

Lena Kardasz is currently working with ALIenergy, whilst studying a Business Management degree at Glasgow Caledonian University as part of a graduate apprenticeship scheme. The scheme allows participants to gain full time work experience and an academic qualification at the same time – “earning and learning”. With Lena’s first year anniversary just around the corner, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on how it’s been and find out about her story so far. 

Lena has settled in brilliantly, becoming a great asset to the ALIenergy team both in the office and for the advisors working in the field with clients. 

"Working at ALIenergy has allowed me to gain a lot of confidence in and out of the workplace and has also taught me a lot in the way of Business as a whole and the energy-related issues our clients face. By studying a course which relates to my job I am also able to be a lot more engaged in my course and ALIenergy as a company as I get frequent opportunities to hold meetings on the different topics I learn at University."

Lena's contribution has been particularily evident during the extremely busy winter periods. Within Lena's course there are many topics to consider and apply in the real working context and it has been very interesting and refreshing to have a different perspective on various aspects of the organisation. We’re learning too!

While normally based in our office in Oban, dealing with client enquiries and referrals for advice and support, earlier this month Lena had the opportunity to accompany Rachel (COO) to some drops-in sessions, meetings and house visits in Dunoon and the Isle of Bute. This let Lena see what happens on the ground and the range of households ALIenergy works with.

The schedule was jam packed starting with a drop-in session at Kirn Community Café, Kirn Church, hosted by Kirn Primary School’s Family Liaison Officer, Laura Mitchell. 

From there Lena and Rachel went on to have lunch with the volunteers and clients at Dunoon’s Addictions Recovery Café, before meeting with Robin from Cowal Elderly Befrienders. During the time Lena and Rachel also visited a client who needed meter readings taken for their supplier, then finished the day catching up with Alison and Emma from HELP Ltd.

The following day they had also had a busy agenda, including some ferry disruption but still managed to make sure Cosy Kits were delivered to Colintraive for Inspiralba’s Household Resilience Advocate serving the local community before they visited the Isle of Bute. Whilst on Bute they visited clients who needed face to face support, dropped Cosy Kits off to John at HELP Ltd on Bute and caught up with Julie and Colum at Bute Advice Centre, where cosy kits were left for the advice centre and the foodbank serving the island, Bute Oasis.

Rachel was impressed with Lena’s professionalism when meeting with other front-line professionals and clients. After this firsthand experience of visits and advice sessions Lena reflected:

“It was really good to hear how well thought of ALIenergy was and how we’d helped so many".