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Ellie Gilbey - Customer Service apprenticeship - Apprenticeships

Why did you choose to become an apprentice? How long was your apprenticeship?

I chose to become an apprentice as I had not done an apprenticeship before and I liked the fact I was going to learn something new. I thought it would help in the future for job applications, as I didn’t receive very good GCSE grades due to struggling with exams. Since leaving College as a student, I went straight into full-time jobs. With an apprenticeship you earn and learn at the same time, and I thought it would be a good experience. My apprenticeship was 18 months, but I had finished all of my coursework in the first 12 months as I wanted to get it done so I could focus more on the reception work.

Were your family supportive of you doing your apprenticeship?

They were all very supportive, giving me advice and helping me get through when I was finding things difficult, as I hadn’t learnt or experienced anything like it before. Obviously an apprenticeship wage is different; however you have got to think of the other side of things.It was so worth the money and the qualifications.

What were the main things that you learnt?

The main things I learnt during my apprenticeship was learning all of the cards and lanyards and how important it was not to keep the customer waiting too long. The main jobs for reception were parking, adding data onto our spreadsheets for student parking, lift passes, staff parking permits and using our switchboard to make calls and receive them.

We also had to deal with difficult customers, and ensuring we remained calm. I learnt how to communicate differently for deaf or blind visitors.

Were you offered a position after your apprenticeship finished?

I did get offered a job after my apprenticeship finished. I was told in my apprenticeship interview that they couldn’t guarantee a job afterwards, however I did stay and get a permanent job afterwards which I was over the moon to be staying as I had learnt so much and made some great friendships with my work colleagues.

Would you recommend young people to consider an apprenticeship?

110%! An apprenticeship is such a good thing to experience, especially if you’re not quite sure what pathway you want to take. So all the experience you can take when you are young is worth it in the long run. Apprenticeships aren’t spoken about as much as they should be, and I think they are great to take part in. For me it is the best thing I have done and I am so pleased I went down that pathway.

What support did your team and the College offer you during your apprenticeship?

I received so much support from my team during my apprenticeship. They were always willing to help with my coursework, taking the time to ask me if everything was okay and if I felt things were going well. The College as a whole was brilliant with the support aspect and offering me time off at the reception to catch up on my coursework. Lyn (my manager) was so kind and spent time with me, going through targets, things that I could improve on and what I was doing well at. Lyn always supported me through my apprenticeship journey and I wouldn’t have got this far without her.

Inspired? Find out more on our Customer Service apprenticeships page.

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