Reflection: What is it, how to do it and why it'll serve you well

Reflection will help you at every stage of your career.

A key element to all areas of life and career, but especially important to those studying apprenticeships and who are developing their careers, skills, knowledge and behaviours.

What is reflection?

An internal process, reflection helps us analyse, explore and examine ourselves to understand where we are now and where we want to be. It’s part of learning through experience therefore goes hand in hand with your experiential studying during your apprenticeship.

Why reflect?

Reflection aids growth, something you are already achieving through your apprenticeship studies and on and off the job experiences. Through effective reflection, you can take control of your development and future both in study and employment.

Research shows that ‘being professional’ is strongly associated with skills of reflection and lifelong learning, showcasing that it’s impossible for individuals to keep developing themselves without skills of reflection (Ruth Helyer, Teesside University).

How can reflection help me?

  1. Career progression – for example, sourcing your own CPD (Continuing Professional Development) activities to support development using the skills, knowledge and behaviours acquired throughout your apprenticeship
  2. Success in promotions – knowing your direction and what it takes to get there
  3. Life outside work – building personal relationships and a healthy lifestyle
  4. Change or gain perspectives – seeing things from a new lens, opening your mind and being thoughtful in actions
  5. Developing critical thinking skills – improving from past mistakes and learning for the next time
  6. Reflection is useful for individuals, as well as groups and organisations
  7. Reflection will help you in every stage and position of your career

How do I reflect?

Experiences + Reflection = Learning. Looking inward: What do I do? How does it work? Why do I do it like that? How will I act next time? Looking outwards: Who can I ask for feedback? How shall I request feedback?

How do I make reflection effective?

For reflection to be used to its full potential, it needs to be purposeful. When reflecting, think:

  1. What am I reflecting on?
  2. Why am I choosing to reflect on this?
  3. What do I wish to learn here?
  4. What are my strengths and skills and how does this relate?
  5. Where do I want to be?
  6. What will I do in the future, in a similar situation? 

What can I do next?

  • Reflective writing Canvas course – enrol on the Canvas course to learn how to write effectively, which can support your off the job and tripartite meeting reflections
  • Personality questionnaire – what are your skills, strengths and values and how can you develop these throughout your apprenticeship
  • Careers Network digital resources hub - take steps and research more into your direction
  • Skills audit – enrolling on the canvas course to think about your current abilities, how to leverage and enhance your skills and embed them into your apprenticeship
  • LinkedIn Learning – understand more on reflection through expert-led online courses


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