Imi progresses through customer service specialist apprenticeship
The Hertfordshire-based college graduate joined VolkerWessels in October 2017 as an Accounts Payable Clerk. Imi showed a desire to develop from the outset, and after discussing further learning with her line manager, she was offered an 18-month apprenticeship with Realise.
A desire for further learning
Imi said: “When I left school, it felt like I was standing still for the first time in over ten years, and I was ready to start moving forward again.
“I always wanted to learn but going to University did not feel right for me. I had no career path in mind and I was worried about not earning money for 3-4 years and coming out in debt.
“Once I had gotten used to my job at VolkerWessels, I expressed an interest in continuing my studies. I had a conversation with my line manager, and it set things in motion. We soon started looking at which course would be best. This time I had control over my studies because it was my choice.”
Imi selected a level 3 customer service specialist programme. The advanced apprenticeship equips apprentices with the skills and confidence to deliver the highest standard of customer service possible.
Customer service specialist apprenticeship
The programme is delivered through a blended learning approach. Apprentices benefit from different learning techniques and resources to deepen their knowledge and understanding. Imi found that blended learning suited her learning style.
She said: “I liked that the course was a mix of face-to-face learning, online modules, and essays or assignments. In addition to work-based tasks such as shadowing other teams and site visits.”
The customer service specialist programme can be delivered on a one-to-one basis or as part of a group. Imi studied as part of a group with colleagues across VolkerWessels.
She continued: “Classes were different from being in school because everyone was there by choice and were likeminded in their attitude to learning.
“Being part of a cohort meant we could bounce ideas and draw from each other’s experiences. Our cohort consisted of people from lots of different areas of the business, so it was interesting to see the part we each play in keeping everything ticking over and even working together in some cases.
“I am lucky to have the training opportunities available and worked closely with the L&D team in finding the balance between learning about customer services and our business. By learning more about other teams, it helps to provide a better service to our customers.”
A new mindset
Imi’s apprenticeship has helped her to gain a deeper understanding of customer service within the business. She said: “The customer service specialist apprenticeship has changed my mindset about dealing with customers. I now take into consideration their journey and adapt my service to meet their needs.
“My apprenticeship has given me the courage to suggest and implement changes in our team, and encourage others to have a future-focused approach to continuous improvement. I use the skills I gained in the apprenticeship every day in providing a positive customer experience.”
Advice to others
Imi’s advice to anyone considering apprenticeships is: “Just have the conversation and find out more about what is on offer. Speak to other apprentices, and make sure you have the support available to take the full 20% off-the-job training allowance.
“Also, do not be put off by the exams as you will be equipped to deal with them when the time comes.”
Imi completed the apprenticeship in October 2020 and gained a distinction grade. Congratulations Imi!