Case Study 5: Phoebe Feng (Hatty Blue | Future Un-Ltd)


Here we are in the heart of London, a really cool place to come to work, what do you do?

I'm an office lynchpin. I do the general admin, picking up the phones, greeting clients and answering emails. I'm a receptionist and take on anything that needs doing, really. Sometimes I support the recruiters if they have priority calls with certain clients and make sure those clients are looked after. And sometimes I get to do odd things, such as helping to design the office when it's Christmas.

And so Hatty Blue is a recruiter? What exactly do they do?

They specialise in finding companies office managers, executive PAs and other office roles within all sorts of creative/media sectors. In January we'll be branching out a bit more but at the moment that's what we are concentrating on.

What were you doing before you started here?

I finished my BTEC Diploma in Creative Arts, I finished studying there and then I thought I wanted to go to university, but it wasn't really for me. I realised I was debating whether to pay £9000 per year doing something that I could do in my spare time as a passion. I wanted to get into work. I wanted to be a blank canvass and start from the beginning.

Sounds well reasoned! How did you hear about Future Un-Ltd?

I heard about it through a friend and she told me about it. She had nearly finished her apprenticeship and had an amazing time. She got both experience and understanding of the working world, which I thought sounded really good. You've got to be in an office to learn more about it.

And so now you're actually in the job, has anything surprised you about the working world?

Um... it's not as easy as you'd imagine! I've done jobs before in retail and catering, but this is different. I am going into something for my career and building a foundation for myself. It's taught me resilience. I want more experience after this year and what I've gained so far.

What in particular can you point towards and say you've learnt from?

I've learnt a lot about my confidence. That goes a long way, and you probably think, "Oh you know that's nothing", but when you'r e doing something and have that confidence, it takes you so far. Two years ago I would have never thought I could do this, but now I' ve met so many lovely people who are encouraging me and praising me I've been able to do the tasks and just go for it!

Tell me about the interview process. Was it scary being interviewed?

It wasn't really scary, but it was more exhilarating, you get butterflies in your tummy. You want to say so many things and it just blurts out and you need to remember to breathe! But it was all fine. I actually really, really enjoyed my interview with Hatty Blue. No it was different. I really felt like I clicked and I really got on with Jo, my manager. When I walked into my office, I thought this place was so amazing and it is really quirky and suited my personality.

Did you feel prepared?

Yeah I did actually. Not necessarily just for recruitment but felt self-confidence.

This is the second of two companies at which you've done this apprenticeship. Did you feel that when you were having problems with your other company that you knew who to go to and that you had support?

Yeah I felt like I could speak to Rebecca and tell her my issues and my problems. She gave me advice and then it was up to me to work out what I was going to do with it. And then I let her know my final decision and she was really supportive.

Cool, so it worked out well! If I was to say that apprenticeships were unknown and not worth it, what would you say?

I'd have to disagree with you. I don't think they're unknown, although not enough people know about them. Future Un-Ltd gives apprenticeships a really good reputation. They have BootCamp and give young people support. I think there's a gap in the market where people should think about an alternative to uni and carve a career out of it.

Age: 20

Company: Hatty Blue

Job Title: Office Lynchpin

Start Date: March 2013

Quote: 'Two years ago I would have never thought I could do this... I've learnt a lot about my confidence. That goes a long way.'