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GBPSA Apprentices - Ashley Colley

News Categories: aspireProfessional Services Week

It’s an exciting week in many ways for Greater Birmingham’s Professional Services Academy (GBPSA). Not only are they a key partner during our first Professional Services Week, delivering their expertise and guidance during sessions with school groups and also to education & business professionals at our various fringe events, they are also celebrating a total of 16 students beginning internships with lead professional services firms in the city; at Gateley Plc, Barclays and LaSerUK.

Professional Services Week celebrates and aims to demystify and demonstrate the diverse range of industries, roles and routes into the sector for young people to discover. Here’s the first in a series of success stories to come from GBPSA graduates now working in Birmingham’s flourishing professional services sector.

Ashley Colley, Wesleyan

Two and a half years after starting her Apprenticeship, Ashley Colley is now a HR assistant at Wesleyan. Here’s what she had to say about her experience:


“My Apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to work across different parts of the organisation and I found HR was the department I enjoyed being in most of all,” said the 21-year-old.  “I spent time with the HR business partners and was drawn to the people side of their work.  I also developed a great relationship with the Head of HR, so immediately took up the offer of working with her long term.”

Ashley’s decision to pursue an Apprenticeship instead of take up her place at university is one she hasn’t regretted.

“I thought the Apprenticeship was a really good opportunity, which is why I decided to apply for it and not go to university,” she continued.  “I felt the work experience would really benefit me and the option of going to university afterwards was still there if I wanted it.

“I’ve been a HR assistant for just over a year now.  At first, I was worried my role would just involve general administration, but I realised I could make the role what I wanted it to be. Wesleyan has supported my ambition to become a HR professional and is funding my Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) which will help me reach this ambition.

“I know I didn’t miss out by not going to university.  Although the social scene is seen as a big deal, Wesleyan provides some great social opportunities and I’ve got money to spend enjoying them!  We have regular social events through our charity work and team activities.  We also had a 175th anniversary dinner recently which was an amazing event and gave me the opportunity to meet rugby star, Matt Dawson.

“And while my friends will be leaving university soon and looking for work, I’ve had a head start in a career and am debt-free.  I’ll soon have a professional qualification and am developing towards my next role of HR Advisor. The only thing I’ve missed is a few additional weeks holiday, but I can honestly say it’s definitely been worth it!”