Apprenticeships are not just for those who are leaving school , they are now a great way of continuing your learning journey and professional development regardless of age or position in a company. From first time employee to company director there is an Apprenticeship to help you upskill or obtain recognition for your knowledge and skills .
Salmah is a Customer Advisor at Longleat Forestry. She is on a Customer Service Specialist level 3 Apprenticeship .She has a wealth of experience and qualifications to her name but recognised that there is always more to learn to keep up with an ever changing industry. We had a chat to Salmah and this is what she told us.
As a mature apprentice you already have a lot of work experience and qualifications, can you please tell us a bit about those?
When I was living in Malaysia, I used to work as Secretary and Customer Service Rep for Dow Agrosciences (a multi national company). When I moved to the UK, my first job was an Attractions Assistant then promoted to a Team Leader at Longleat Attractions. I currently work as an administrator and customer service at Longleat Forestry. I hold a Diploma in Business Administration from UITM Malaysia. I gained my professional qualifications in Pitman Secretarial Group Cert as well as ILM NVQ 2 in Team Leading.
What made you decide to get involved in the customer service apprenticeship?
I am a people's person. I love talking to people, I find it fascinating to meet people from all walks of life. I also love learning new things and always try to continue to improve my personal and professional skills. Our HR department approached us about the course and we were encouraged to take it. I have never heard about the course before. I am delighted I am on the course though.
What do you hope to achieve by taking this apprenticeship?
Taking the apprenticeship broadens my horizons. There are many aspects of customer service skills that I still need to pursue. In this course, amongst other things, so far i have learnt SWOT analysis, the HEAT strategy and PESTLE analysis. Customer Service skills is not just being polite and friendly to customers. There are many other aspects to it. For example, it is interesting to learn about a customer journey and how they ended buying our product.
What have been the most useful aspects of the training so far?
I think having excellent tutors is very important. My tutors are dedicated, knowledgeable and approachable. I have not met them in person due to Covid restrictions but all our zoom meetings and one to one phone calls have been well organised and we achieved to cover the modules as if we were in a real classroom scenarios.
How are you making the time to work and study?
My employer allows flexibility to all its staff who are doing professional courses. Our classes are done during office hours.
My kids are all grown up now and I have a lot of spare time at home to get on with my assignments.
What advice would you give to someone like yourself who is considering an apprenticeship?
Life is a journey. Its never too late to learn new skills no matter what age you are. As the saying goes "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."
What are your top tips for anyone who is working on an apprenticeship.
Make an effort to attend all classes and try to finish the assignments before the next class if you can. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help from your tutors.