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I have worked for Capita for almost nine years now.  I originally joined the organisation as an Inbound Enquiry Centre Advisor, nine years on and I’m now the Lead Operations Trainer for the Health and Welfare division.

Before starting my apprenticeship, I was an Operations Trainer within Health and Welfare and I had just made a very difficult decision to leave the contract to pursue a career development opportunity on a new employability contract within Capita.  I worked as an Operations Trainer on a new employability contract for one year before being promoted to my current role as Lead Operations Trainer and I returned to the Health and Welfare division in August 2022.

My apprenticeship has played a big role in where I am now, I’ve gained so much more experience and I am able to use what I learn at university in my day-to-day role as a Manager.

Why an Apprenticeship?

I had just been successful in obtaining a new role and I was speaking to my manager regarding my professional development plan, I explained that I was keen on obtaining a Learning and Development (L&D) qualification.  At the time, I just knew that I wanted a recognised qualification, but I never thought about doing an apprenticeship.

If I’m honest, I wanted to do better.  I knew I was going through the motions, and I wasn’t pushing myself.

My manager suggested an apprenticeship course and obtained more information.  I received the Leading on Customer Operations course leaflet and after reading through the course content I just knew that it would be perfect.  The course had so much to offer, and after discussing it with my manager, I applied for the apprenticeship, and I started the course within two weeks.  I suppose I was very lucky, everything just sort of fell into place.

I should probably also mention that the course is fully funded by the Department for the Economy so that also played a huge part in my decision to complete an apprenticeship rather than an alternative option.

My Apprenticeship in three words

Informative, skilled, professional

Why I choose the Leading on Customer Operations Degree Apprenticeship

The Leading on Customer Operations course doesn’t just focus on one topic, the course is designed for individuals who are taking responsibility for people, projects, operations and/or services. Each one of these areas is very much relevant to my current role.

I work in a fast-paced environment, where there is always lots of change – I know that by completing this apprenticeship, it will not only help me understand the world of operations better, but it will help me with my future career progression.

I’ve been in the L&D team for a long period of time however I have always been interested in knowing how the rest of the business works.  The course helps me to understand different roles and responsibilities within the organisation and it will open up my future opportunities, not just within the L&D Team.

The best thing about being an apprentice

Honestly, I really enjoy learning the theory behind operations.  I have been involved in lots of different projects over the years, I know how things work and I know what needs to be done from experience, but I never fully understood the ‘why’ – until now.  I know this may sound silly, but I would have been in a meeting discussing responsibilities for an upcoming project, looking at a RACI matrix or Gantt chart and feeling very confused.  Now that I have learned about different models used within the organisation, I feel more confident when speaking to internal stakeholders.

I try and pass on any useful information that I have learned to my team, so for example when one of my team completes a training course, we pop a meeting in the diary to document a SWOT analysis. This is proven to be a useful exercise and the team can reflect on their delivery style and course content.  It also opens up a discussion on how we can improve the customer experience.

The course can sometimes be challenging but the lecturers are extremely supportive.  It is also nice to meet new people.

A day in the life of an apprentice

As a part-time student my time is very much split between work and study.  My organisation allows me to take 20% of my usual working hours out to attend classes, complete self-study and to submit assignments.

My team have been very supportive throughout the apprenticeship.

On days when I’m scheduled to attend class on campus, I will always make sure that I arrive early, and I usually meet some of my class for a coffee beforehand.  I quite enjoy being in a classroom environment, being able to share ideas and complete group activities is beneficial.

It is nice to be in a different location from time to time.

Although I do still enjoy online learning too, the lecturers will record presentations so you can always refer to them – honestly, I find this beneficial when it comes to writing assignments.

My plans for the future

I have just started year two of my degree; my goal is to complete the degree and I am hoping to finish on a first!

In terms of my career, I want to be a well-recognised leader within my organisation.  Like I said, I’ve already been promoted since starting my apprenticeship so for now, I am happy with where I am in terms of job roles, but I want to improve my management style and leadership skills.

That’s not to say, if an opportunity came up that I wouldn’t be interested though.  I suppose I will keep my options open.

Words of advice

Do it!  Enrolling on an apprenticeship programme will be the best decision that you will ever make, you will be fully supported by the course lecturers, who are all skilled professionals.

There is going to be challenging times but there is an excellent support network in place to help you.

In terms of time management, organisation, and planning, understand what works best for you – I use my calendar to schedule out time for study, and I share this with my family and work colleagues so that I am not interrupted.

Where possible, remove any distractions like your phone.  Avoid multitasking, stick to your schedule and don’t be afraid to ask questions!  It’s like any training course or class that you have been too, you get out of it what you put in. I would also suggest setting up a WhatsApp group with your class so that you have another channel to ask questions.

If you decide to complete an apprenticeship, make use of all the universities facilitates and student services like Studiosity.