Meet our apprentice Lily

About Lily

My name is Lily Marden, and I am working as a data protection and information governance apprentice while undertaking a level 4 apprenticeship with Damar training. 

Why did you apply for an apprenticeship?

It was a great opportunity for me to learn some new skills and develop my knowledge. I was looking for ways to develop my knowledge and basic skills. I came across this opportunity and decided that I would take it so that I could develop my teamworking skills. 

Data protection is a very important part of the workplace and many jobs are often looking for people with experience in data protection and an understanding on GDPR. I was also interested in the role, as considerations around people’s individual rights as well as whether information is necessary to be shared is something that interests me.

I was interested in learning more about GDPR and developing a better understanding of the processes that go into providing information and assisting with people’s requests.

I chose this over an 8-week internship, as I felt that this apprenticeship gave me a better opportunity to learn and develop new skills. Additionally, data protection was interesting to me from an ethics and individual rights perspective, and this was a fantastic opportunity for me to take. 

What is it like being an apprentice here?

I have enjoyed my time at Bracknell Forest Council so far. The team is lovely and I appreciate all of the advice and support that they have given me so far. It is easy to work with others, and I have been able to learn a lot of things regarding UK GDPR, the ICO and so on. Everyone is very friendly, and I enjoy working with them. 

I have worked on reviewing Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) and third-party requests, which has been a fantastic learning experience for me. It is something that has greatly contributed to the ease at which I am able to pick up on new tasks, and I have enjoyed my time here so far.

What are you enjoying most?

I am enjoying working on third-party requests and DPIAs. It is something that has been full of interesting perspectives, and I have been learning a lot of new things since starting here. Even after a few months working here, I feel as though I have developed more confidence and understanding when it comes to the process that we must follow. I have also enjoyed working on the trackers, making sure that everything is in place so that we have easier access to important files. 

I think the apprenticeship programme so far has been very accommodating and very informative, and I think I have developed good team-working and intuition skills, as well as a new way of thinking about concerns around the problems that might come up in DPIAs and third-party requests. It’s something that has benefited my personal and professional growth, and I look forward to learning more from this apprenticeship.

What are you enjoying least?

Nothing immediately springs to mind. I think mostly it is concerns around whether it is suitable to share information to an individual requesting information or to a third-party seeking someone’s personal data. This is something that I always have to carefully consider, and this is the riskiest part of my role so far. However, I think the experience and knowledge that I gain from it outweighs the concerns that I may have. 

What have you learnt so far?

I have learned about GDPR and data protection, as well as how the processes surrounding it work. This is an enormous help to me, as it allows me to be able to critically think about how I would respond to a particular request or desire for information. 

I am carefully considering how the implications of shared data will affect other areas, and this is something that has allowed me to make connections between different projects and different GDPR protections. 

I have also learned key teamworking skills and have developed good communication skills, being able to use professional and clear language when discussing things with the team.

What support are you receiving?

My training provider has one-to-one meetings with me to discuss my progress and offers set modules that I complete. This allows me to test and develop my knowledge, which is often used practically. 

My team and manager are also supporting my learning, and they have been very helpful on a day-to-day basis. 

How do you manage time between work and study?

I have one study-day every week, that allows me time to focus on reviewing what I already know. 

Most of my apprenticeship modules are directly linked to what I do, so I can learn on the job and use what I have learned in the workplace in my apprenticeship. 

I understand how hard it can be to stay on top of things, which is why I have focused on ensuring that I am able to complete my modules on time and communicate effectively to both my manager and my training provider if I find that I am struggling. 

Any advice for someone considering an apprenticeship?

My advice would be to be able to communicate effectively with others. 

It’s important to be able to ask for help and guidance, as well as ask questions regarding the various processes in the work-place. This kind of learning is very valuable, and it allows you to put your knowledge to the test.

Also, it is important that you believe in yourself and have the courage to keep trying. It can feel daunting at times, but your team are always there to support you through everything.

Other help and information

There is more information the apprenticeships website and you can read their apprentice ambassador stories

If you are looking specifically at data protection, the ICO website is a good place to learn about UK GDPR and develop a better understanding of the various bits of legislation surrounding data protection.