Meet Eden, 18, a customer service apprentice at the charity run Botcherby community centre in Carlisle. Our employment and training service which provides support to local people at the centre, helped her through the process and successfully secure the position when she was shortlisted by Carlisle College for this opportunity.
Before starting work at the community centre in September 2017, Eden was lacking confidence and had little work experience – making her worry about applying for jobs and interviews.
What’s the best thing you’ve done since starting here or starting your apprenticeship?
The best thing I have done since starting my apprenticeship is developing my skills. I’ve had the privilege to undergo training that have made me more equipped for the working environment such as: dementia friendly awareness, Emergency First Aid Level 2 and Food Hygiene certificate. These courses were well suited and mandatory for my course but also really fun to complete and very informative.
The courses have given me more confidence in my job role and better equipped to deal with emergencies.
My favourite thing I’ve completed so far would be working with a colleague to plan, organise and host the children’s Halloween party last year. This event helped me settle into the job role, but also taught me how to manage a big event.
Have you noticed a big difference between school and work?
I have noticed a relatively big difference since starting this apprenticeship. I have had previous jobs before however not earning and learning at the same time, I find it makes you more aware of prioritising and also how you balance work life and studying.
With this apprenticeship I am able to find time for my studies alongside learning and progressing in a working role. In school you have the support and are told how to do things, whereas in an apprenticeship role although all the support is still there it is a chance to use your own independence to experience these situations rather than just learning about them.
Work gives us all a chance to experience different circumstances and develop our knowledge through our performance, by knowing how to handle ourselves when difficult issues arise so it allows us to learn and grow and become better prepared to handle anything in the future. It is really beneficial being able to learn from both study and practical work.
What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to learn or work around?
The most difficult thing I’ve learned is to adjust to different situations. School does not prepare you for dealing with customers, or even knowing appropriate code of conduct in the work place. So I would have to say that adjusting to a new work flow was difficult. Some of the tasks I now complete without struggle were at first quite challenging, such as booking and preparing a meeting to suit 100 people and providing the customer with drinks, food, and correct answers to their enquiries. This has made me more aware of attention to detail, being more organised and confident in giving people information.
What is your next goal at work?
My goal is to successfully complete my apprenticeship and aim to do a Level 3 apprenticeship.
How have you managed balancing work while learning?
I have set daily tasks that I do throughout the day and these include dealing with room hires, assisting customers’ face-to-face, telephone enquiries, answering emails, preparing rooms, cleaning responsibilities, updating and responding to any queries on social media sites and website.
Some days are busier than others, however I would like to better manage the balance of studying when it isn’t busy. Working in customer services is unpredictable and this can make managing your time more difficult. However having a strong support system from my colleagues allows me to complete my work while another member of staff is overseeing any other bookings and customer enquiries etc.
What would you’re advice be to anyone considering an apprenticeship?
My advice to someone considering an apprenticeship would be to go for it! You are able to learn and do things that you would never get to do in a classroom.
Apprenticeships offer a lot of support and opportunities especially for the future. I would definitely recommend it to people who want a challenge and prefer hands on experience. It has definitely developed me as a person and my learning strategies, I feel more confident in a working environment and excited about future prospects.